Luwingu, August 31ST , 2014, ZANIS —- Minister of home affairs Dr Ngosa Simbyakula says government has put up measures aimed at decongesting all state prison countrywide.
Dr. Simbyakula said this is in order to improve the living condition of inmates.
He said some of the measures put forward to decongest state prisons include construction of new prisons and rehabilitate the existing facilities to order to increase space in the prisons.
He said the government was aware of some of the challenges affecting most prisons countrywide adding that it was the duty of his ministry to ensure funds are allocated for the rehabilitation and construction of new prisons to decongest the old ones.
Dr Simbyakula said the Luwingu state prison was closed due security concerns in 2006, adding that the closure affected the local people who were forced to travel to Kasama to visit their incarcerated relatives.
“This will be the thing of the past as relatives will from today have easy access to their loved ones who are incarcerated in within the district except those that have come from other districts,” he added.
ZANIS reports that the minister was speaking during the official opening of Luwingu state prison, he said the challenges Zambia Prison Service was going through in its mandate of custodial and correctional services will soon be sorted out by the PF government.
He said government will always give the Zambia Prison Service support to improve service delivery.
Dr Simbyakula said Luwingu district prison is the second to be opened since the Patriotic Front (PF) formed government three years ago after successful completion and opening of the 600 capacity Mwembeshi maximum prison last year.
“As government, we know that this is far from enough. We still have a lot to do to increase the capacity of our prisons and these projects that have completed are signs of many things to come in infrastructure development,” he said.
And Commissioner of Prisons, Percy Chato commended government for the unprecedented support it has continued to render to the service such constructing Luwingu and Mwembeshi maximum security prison.
Mr. Chato said the government has allocated k22 million for farm expansion and procure modern farm equipments to help boost production at various production centers which include 500 hectares Luwingu prison farm.
He said the prison services has capacity to produce enough maize and beans to feed its inmates countrywide as long as government continues giving support.
He further said the congestion of state prisons in the country is concern not only to Zambia prison service but to the country at large adding there was need to address the situation before it get out of hard.
He said the population is currently at 18, 500 making most of the facilities 224 percent congestion.
He said the 224 percent congestion levels deny the opportunity to offer humane custodial and correctional services in line with the modern global trends of prison management which demands decent accommodation for prison.
“We with the support we are currently receiving from government, we are assured and confident that we will realize our ideal situation of arresting the systemic violation of prisoners’ rights,” he added.
Mr. Chato said the new Luwingu prison has decongested Kasama Milima prison by 145 prisoners and also decongest Luwingu police station by 100 percent because all the remand prisoners will be taken to the new facility.
Mr. Chato said Luwingu prison is a living testimony that government was committed to providing humane custodial and correctional services.
He warned the prison warders against misuse and vandalism of the facility saying would not be tolerated and urged them to maintain and it must be kept clean at all times.