Jubilation as prisoners are released

by | Apr 17, 2021 | Crime & Courts, Local News | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

In an effort to decongest the country’s 46 prison facilities to arrest the spread of the novel corona Virus, a Presidential Amnesty was decreed on April 13 2021.

A carnival atmosphere engulfed Marondera Prison yesterday as 70 inmates were released as part of the ongoing Presidential Amnesty Program meant to decongest prisons. So far Mashonaland East Province has released 225 inmates, 222 being males and three being females.

Section 112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe empowers the President, in consultation with Cabinet, to exercise powers of mercy to grant pardon to prisoners convicted of offence(s) against the law.

A total of 225 prisoners have been set free so far in Mashonaland East, with 222 being males while three females.
Prisons and Correctional Services Department began moves to operationalise the Presidential Clemency order number 1 of 2021.

The amnesty, which targets to decongest local prisons who’s population had ballooned to 20407 against a holding capacity of 17000 inmates, will grant full remission of sentences to inmates who have served a third of their sentences, except those convicted of specified offences such as murder, treason, rape, or sexual offence, stock theft, public violence, car jacking, and robbery.

All female prisoners and juveniles under the age of 18 are covered under the current amnesty with the exception of those serving sentences for specified offences.

The Presidential Amnesty comes as the country intensifies efforts to control the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus which happens to spread very fast in over populated environments.
This exercise is also crucial as it saves the government on critical supplies necessary for the upkeep of prisoners such as food, clothing, sanitary wear, medication and man hour expenses for correctional staff.

President Mnangagwa contends and recognises that the main purpose of the prison facilities is rehabilitation of offenders, and thus the nation pins it’s hopes on the good behaviour of pardoned offenders that they will not commit other offenses while outside as a way of returning the favour.