Zomba inmates lobby for parole to dicongest prison

Zomba Central Prison inmates have asked Ministry of Justice to consider parole release to decongest the prison.

The prison’s inmates representative Gladson Kaunda said this on Wednesday in Zomba when Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo led a delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Granting of Pardon to the facility to appreciate challenges the facility faces.

He said the parole system, which is a temporary or permanent release of a prisoner before the expiry of a sentence, has the potential to contribute to sanity in prisons.

“Those that might commit burglary and other offences while on parole should be rearrested and start saving their sentences again from where they stopped,” said Kaunda.

Mvalo speaks to the inmates

He said the pardons should be applicable in all cases regardless of the crimes the inmates committed.

Malawi Prisons Service deputy commissioner responsible for legal affairs and operations Brazirial Chapuwala said the Prison Act provides for parole custodial release.

He said Zomba Central Prison has about 2 000 inmates against the design capacity of 800.

Chapuwala said parole provides prisoners with a structured, supported and supervised transition.

“This helps the inmates to adjust from prison back into the community,” he said.

In his remarks, Mvalo acknowledged that inmates are struggling due to unfavourable conditions at the correctional facility.

He said findings from the visit will be presented to President Lazarus Chakwera who is mandated to effect pardons to inmates.

“Reformed behaviours and gravity of offenses are essential elements considered during pardons,” he said.

The delegation comprised Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daudi, Deputy Minister of Local Government, Unity and Culture Owen Chomanika and Malawi Police Services Deputy Inspector General Happy Mkandawire, among others.

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