ZACRO to lobby Prisons Act

The Zimbabwe Association of Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender says it will lobby the incoming Zanu (PF) government to amend the Prisons Act so it conforms to international standards.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, ZACRO Chairperson, Edson Chiota, said the current legislation did not provide for the rehabilitation of prisoners and attributed the development to a lack of political will.

He said ZACRO would lobby the incoming government to ensure that conditions in the country’s prisons were improved. Most of Zimbabwe’s prisons are suffering from a critical shortage of food, water, ablution facilities and other basics such as soap.

ZACRO is a non-governmental organisation formed in 1923 as a prisoners’ aid society which advocates for justice as well as respect and protection of prisoners’ rights in Zimbabwe

Early this year, the then Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Douglas Mwonzora, said a critical shortage of basic resources in the country’s prisons was threatening the welfare of inmates.

He said that in 2012, the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs made several efforts to improve jail conditions but noted with concern that prisoners were in for yet another disastrous year.

“First and foremost, we need to look at the issue of the legislation system that deals with the prison system. We need to make sure that it conforms to international best practices, especially on the issue of rehabilitation of the prisoners. The prison is all about rehabilitation and if our standards do not cater for that, then we have a real challenge,” said Chiota.

He said ZACRO would vigorously advocate for the amendment of the Prisons Act through engaging various Parliamentary Portfolio Committees.

“We already have a draft as to what we perceive would be the desirable Act,” said Chiota. He said it was imperative for the country’s law makers to rally behind the ZACRO proposal.

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