Government moves to decongest prisons

by | Mar 17, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

Brian Rungano Temba

Cabinet yesterday agreed to evoke Section 112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, granting general amnesty to convicts who have served at least one third of their sentences.

The proposal by Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi was approved by Cabinet after considering that Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) prisons’ shrinking capacity might soon become a COVID-19 infection hot spot.

Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa told the press yesterday during a post cabinet briefing that prisons are already holding more than their inelastic capacity.
“The amnesty will decongest the prison institution whose population currently stands at 20 407 against the prison’s holding capacity of 17 000,” said Hon Senator Mutsvangwa.

“The overpopulation already poses a health hazard, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic in light of recommended measures to curtail the spread of the disease,” she added.

The proposed General Amnesty is with exception to convicts serving time for specific offences that require complete correctional rehabilitation.
Under the tier of these social menaces are those charged with murderer, treason, rape or any sexual offence, carjacking, robbery, stock theft, and public violence.

“There shall be a full remission of sentence to be granted to all prisoners who have served life imprisonment for at least 15 years commutation,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Section 112 empowers the President of Zimbabwe after consultation with Cabinet, to exercise the power of mercy and grant pardon to any person concerned in or convicted of an offence against law.

This will be the third general amnesty President Emmerson Mnangagwa has granted since assuming office. In March of 2018 he granted amnesty to 3 000 inmates and in March of 2020, 5 000 inmates in an effort to decongest the overcrowded prisons facilities.