‘Our prisons are not that overcrowded’

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 11:43:01 +0000

 

By INNOCENT SIACHITOBA

THE Zambia Correctional Services (ZCS) has denied a statistical report by World Prison Brief (WPB) that has ranked Zambia fourth with the most overcrowded prison system in the world at 303 percent occupancy level.

Speaking to the Daily Nation yesterday, ZCS public relations manager Maggie Nawa clarified that the report by WPB was an exaggeration and lacked authenticity.

Ms Nawa however said she could not deny the fact that Zambia’s correctional centres were overcrowded but the WPB report was a total exaggeration.

She said that as of February 7, the national prison demographics stood at 21, 341 against the official holding capacity of 8 550 inmates translating to 250 percent of overcrowding contrary  to 303 percent reported by the international prison watchdog institution.

She explained that efforts were being made by Government to decongest the correctional facilities by constructing  two modern holding  centres at Mwembeshi with a total  holding capacity of 3, 300.

“Works on one facility are expected to be completed by June or July while the other correctional facility is expected to be done by the end of the year,” she said.

She clarified that one correctional centre had already been opened in Monze with a holding capacity of 300 and expansion works on the existing prisons were on-going across the country.

Meanwhile, Prisons Care and Counselling Association executive director Dr. Godfrey Malembeka said that the report did not tally with the official figures the ZCS had thereby describing it as “too exaggerated.”

He however admitted that the correctional centres were still overpopulated, adding that it was therefore a great reminder to Zambians, particularly the justice system to help the prison facilities by reducing the backlog of cases among pre-trial detainees.

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