Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000

 

By INNOCENT SIACHITOBA

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s unprecedented commitment to improving the living conditions in correctional facilities ought to be applauded by the Judiciary and law enforcement agencies, says Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRSCCA) executive director Godfrey Malembeka.

Commenting on the President’s call to improve the conditions in correctional centres when he swore in the Commissioner of Prisons Everisto Kalonga at State House last week, Dr Malembeka called on the institutions mandated to oversee the criminal justice system to heed to the President’s appeal to help decongest correctional facilities.

“President Lungu’s call to improve the living conditions in correctional facilities is a welcome move. Therefore, there is need for the Judiciary, law enforcement agencies like the Police, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), immigration and others to devise measures that will help decongest the already overcrowded correctional centres,” he said.

Dr. Malembeka further explained that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government had demonstrated a great interest in improving the living conditions of inmates adding that the seriousness could be seen by President Lungu’s assenting of the Constitution Amendment Act of 2016 that changed the name from prisons to correctional facilities.

“The PF Government has demonstrated the good will in prisons by amending the Constitution that led to the change of the name of prisons to correctional centres.  And because of these changes, the President has so far commuted about 332 death penalties to other sentences and 6000 inmates have been pardoned under his rule, this is unprecedented as there is no Government that has pardoned such a great number of inmates before,” Dr Malembeka said.

He added that revealing such important statistics should not be viewed as a political stance because facts were there to prove their commitment to reducing and subsequently ending inmate congestion in correctional facilities.

Dr Malembeka has appealed to Government to seriously consider domesticating the international treaties on human rights like the Nelson Mandela rules, the Torture Convention, the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and other instruments which will act as a deterrent to law enforcement officers who sometimes  abuse  inmates’ or suspects’ rights.

 

 

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