'Treat prisoners with respect, dignity'

HARARE - Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi says inmates should be treated with respect and dignity because all people including those in high offices are potential convicts.

Speaking at the recent handover of $50 000 worth of goods to Chikurubi Maximum Prison by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), Zimondi called on Zimbabweans to uphold the dignity of prisoners regardless of their social standing.

“Anyone of us is a potential prisoner. This is why we should treat prisoners with dignity.

“I have hosted two Cabinet ministers as commissioner-general of prisons in Zimbabwe. They said to me ‘We never knew we would end up in this situation.’

“It is a good lesson to all people in high offices who think because they are in high offices they won’t end up in prison,” said Zimondi, adding that prisoners should never regard their incarceration as the end of the road.

“This should also motivate inmates because the fact that they are in prison does not mean that they will remain in this situation.

“If they improve themselves by reading books they might end up holding very influential positions in society in future.”

Zimondi said the ZPCS should at all times uphold the dignity of inmates.

“As ZPCS we underpin and protect the fundamental values of our nation, the most important of which is respect for the inherent dignity of all human beings regardless of their social standing.

“We are entrusted with the upkeep of those who would have broken or are accused of having broken the law; people who would have shown lack of respect for the dignity of others but still we have a special role in respecting their dignity,” he said.

The ZPC commissioner-general hailed the late former South African President Nelson Mandela for speaking eloquently about the rights of prisoners.

“The late... Mandela once called for the respect of all human beings regardless of what they would have done wrong. He said: ‘No one truly knows a nation until he has been inside the jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest citizens’,” said Zimondi.

He added that his perspective on how prisoners should be treated was also shaped by the late former commissioner-general of Uganda prisons Joseph Etima.

“He said to me, ‘Zimondi when you treat prisoners don’t treat them as if that is the end of their lives because you might be surprised because some of them will end up holding very high positions in society.

‘Don’t think that because you are commissioner-general of the ZPCS you will remain in that position because chances are you are going to commit a crime and end up in prison.’

“Etima said this because some people who were presidents in Uganda ended up in prison while some former prisoners ended up as presidents of that country,” said Zimondi.

Comments (1)

We need new modern prisons , a $200Mn bill that we must all share. Zvitokisi zva smith ngazvivarwe.

Duke of Matebele , Chikurubi - 22 July 2018

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