Prisoners To Get “Leave” To Visit Homes & Maintain Relationships under new prison reforms: official
HARARE – Female prisoners will be allowed home visits under new prison reforms, an official said.
The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) is also building open prisons for females in all provinces, starting with Mutare in Manicaland and Marondera in Mashonaland East as part of a new emphasis on removing hard walls, correctional services boss Paradzai Zimondi said.
“Our strides towards reform as a country have always been progressive, beginning in 1980 and are marked by significant changes. For instance, in 2005 the ZPCS crafted a Rehabilitation Policy in an endeavour to spearhead the rehabilitation thrust,” Zimondi said at Khami Prison last Saturday.
“In our efforts at modernising our approach in correctional management systems, soon after independence we established a more humane correctional centre that is the Connemara Open Prison which houses male inmates but we have not stopped as plans are also ongoing to establish other open prison facilities for females across the provinces.
“The government has already approved sites in Marondera and Mutare to start with. Progress on the implementation in this regard is being delayed by budgetary inadequacies. However, as soon as resources permit, execution of the projects would commence in earnest.”
Zimondi said female prisoners were “a very important and sensitive constituency” whose societal role “favours that they stay in constant touch with family and the community as opposed to outright incarceration.”
“The open prison system is more conducive for facilitating inmates’ rehabilitation and successful reintegration given that it is at most serving as a halfway home. In this regard, inmates go on home leave while serving their prison terms thereby ensuring that family relations and ties are kept open and intact,” Zimondi said.
“As inmates go on home leave, they interact and stay with their families thus preparing for their release. Upon release, they will not be new persons hence the re-integration process would have commenced while one would be serving his/her prison term.”
Zimondi said they relied heavily on the donor community, and would be counting on such support to deepen reforms of the prison system.