Relatives to help in prisoners upkeep

prisoner_zimHARARE Zimbabwes cash strapped government has asked family and relatives of inmates in the countrys overcrowded jails to help provide for their upkeep by donating food, blankets, clothes and other essentials. (Pictured: One of the hungry and sick Zimbabwean Prisoners)

Deputy Justice Minister Jessie Majome, told ZimOnline yesterday that the government decided to allow relatives of prisoners to buy essential necessities to improve their stay behind bars.

We are trying to do everything humanly possible to take care of our prisoners but the government has no money and the state of prisons is disastrous, said Majome in an interview.

She added: We have since passed a resolution allowing relatives of prisoners to buy them prison clothes, blankets, jerseys, food and many other essentials as long as they meet prison requirements.

Zimbabwes prisons have long been considered virtual death houses with hundreds of inmates reportedly dying in the jails because of diseases and an acute shortage of food.

Human rights watchdog, Amnesty International reported two weeks ago that 1 000 prisoners have died since the beginning of the year.

According to local prisoners rights group Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) at least two inmates die everyday due to hunger and disease at Chikurubi and Harare Central the countrys two biggest jails.

Harare, which earlier this year allowed the Red Cross access to jails to help feed and clothe inmates, admits dire conditions in the prisons.

But the government blames the situation in jails on Western sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle that it says have damaged the economy and crippled the governments ability to carry out its functions, including providing for prisoners.

Post published in: Politics

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