'Children do time for mothers' crimes'

HARARE - Paradzai Zimondi, the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) boss, has appealed to the corporate sector to assist children in prison with their mothers.

In an address to a fundraising dinner gala for ZPCS commissioner-general’s goodwill trust fund, Zimondi said Zimbabwe needs to look at the welfare of children who accompany their mothers to jail as they were living in deplorable conditions.

“It is a hard life for them. I feel for those children because what they go through, its very difficult for them and to comprehend,” Zimondi said.

The country has 42 prisons.

According to prison officials, the longest serving minor is a four-year-old born in prison within days of the mother being remanded in custody awaiting trial for murder.

Prison officials said children who accompany their mother do not have a ration and depend on their parents’ share.

“Prisons are never a good place for babies and they don’t deserve to be in prison.” Zimondi said.

The prison food regime does not meet the nutritional requirements for children’s physical and mental growth, putting their lives at risk.

Turning on the recent prison breaks which saw 34 inmates escape from custody this year alone, Zimondi warned inmates.

“If you are one of the people who escaped prison and you are here, be reminded that you will come back soon, because police and our authorities will catch up with you,” Zimondi warned.

Inmates bolted after being allowed to use ablution facilities without escort.

Several prison officers are said to have been dismissed over the jailbreaks while others are still to face disciplinary hearings.

The inmates escaped from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison Farm as well as Chikurubi Female, Mutare Farm, Mutare Remand, Whawha, Khami Remand and Kentucky prisons.

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