De­cen­tralise open pris­ons: Bony­ongwe

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Daniel Ne­mukuyu Harare Bureau

JUS­TICE, Le­gal and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Min­is­ter Re­tired Ma­jor Gen­eral Hap­py­ton Bony­ongwe has called for the de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion of open pris­ons to all prov­inces as way of pro­mot­ing suc­cess­ful rein­te­gra­tion of of­fend­ers into so­ci­ety upon com­ple­tion of their sen­tences.

The open prison sys­tem also serves to take care of preg­nant women, those who are jailed to­gether with their ba­bies and oth­ers with special cases.

Zim­babwe has one open prison Con­nemara Open Prison for men.

The Zim­babwe Pris­ons and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices had re­solved to start prepara­tory work for the con­struct­ing an­other open prison for women in Maron­dera.

Min­is­ter Bony­ongwe hailed the move and said that de­cen­tral­is­ing the open pris­ons to all prov­inces will ef­fec­tively serve the in­tended pur­pose.

Ad­dress­ing se­nior prison of­fi­cers in Harare on Wed­nes­day, Min­is­ter Bony­ongwe said his min­istry was com­mit­ted to mo­bil­is­ing funds for the project.

“I con­cur with the ob­ser­va­tion that a cen­tralised in Gweru, open prison ap­proach can­not serve as a proper half­way home given that it could be lo­cated far from some of the in­mates’ rel­a­tives, re­sult­ing in their rel­a­tives and friends fail­ing to visit the in­mates as of­ten as de­sired.

“Con­struct­ing the Maron­dera open prison is in or­der but we must at least build oth­ers for the North­ern and South­ern re­gions.

“The in­tended pur­pose will well be saved when the open prison are spread to all prov­inces.

“As a min­istry, we will leave no stone un­turned to mo­bilise re­sources for the con­struc­tion of the open prison cen­tres,” said Min­is­ter Bony­ongwe.

ZPCS Com­mis­sioner-Gen­eral Re­tired Ma­jor Gen­eral Paradzai Zi­mondi said an open prison for women was ur­gently re­quired to cater for women who are jailed with their ba­bies and oth­ers with special con­di­tions.

“We do not have a pur­pose-built in­sti­tute for fe­male of­fend­ers. Some of the in­mates come to jail preg­nant while oth­ers bring ba­bies to prison.

“Hav­ing an open prison sys­tem will there­fore ad­dress some of these chal­lenges. Plans are al­ready in place to build a fe­male open prison in Maron­dera though the lim­it­ing fac­tor is lack of re­sources,” said Com­mis­sioner Gen Zi­mondi.

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