Zacro details prison uniform shame

HARARE - Government is failing to provide prisoners with appropriate clothing, Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (Zacro) has claimed.

Zacro chief executive officer Edison Chihota told the parliamentary thematic committee on Human Rights, chaired by Zanu PF legislator Mike Nyambuya, of the deplorable conditions.

“The lack of resources has affected the procurement of uniforms for inmates,” Chihota told the committee yesterday.

“This has resulted in some having to wear uniforms that are tattered and in some remote prisons they are moving naked.  They only receive uniforms when they are set to appear for a court appearance. If you visit the prisoners, you can see it for yourself.”

Zacro is a non-governmental organisation which aims to prevent crime and promote rehabilitation and reintegration of the offenders into the mainstream society. It also advocates for the protection of prisoners’ rights.

He claimed some prison officers were also wearing faded uniforms.

Chihota said to alleviate the clothing crisis, Zacro had engaged church organisations to help them provide clothing to the prisoners.

“We have interacted with churches, for example, the Seventh Day Adventist, to make some short trousers that they want to donate to prisoners at Mutimurefu Prison,” Chihota said.

He said prisoners were also facing food shortages because of under-funding from Treasury.

“There is inadequate food for those who are in need of a special diet who have certain health conditions like those living with HIV and taking antiretroviral treatment and those with sugar diabetes as well as pregnant mothers,” he said.

“We need to improve on quality and quantity. ZPCS (Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services) should allow food from outside, especially for those with special conditions to ease the problem.” Chihota said female inmates complain about their appalling living conditions, where at times, they do not have adequate food, uniforms, panties and sanitary ware.

“They also lack adequate utilities for personal hygiene like soap, Vaseline, and detergents,” he said.

“Some have no jerseys in the winter season and have torn uniforms.”

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