BY SIMBARASHE SITHOLE
THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) says its prisoners at four centres in Mashonaland Central province are experiencing severe food shortages after they failed to produce enough maize in the 2018/2019 summer cropping season.
The province’s four correctional centres at Mazowe, Guruve, Bindura and Mount Darwin — only produced a combined 10 tonnes of corn, a far cry from the 700 tonnes harvested last year.
ZPCS provincial spokesperson Fidelis Pemhiwa said the poor harvest was due to drought and machine breakdowns.
“This season we were hit hard by drought and managed to produce only 10 metric tonnes compared to the other years where we used to produce more than 700 metric tonnes and feeding other needy prison institutions. This is due to drought and breaking down of farm equipment,” Pemhiwa said.
“Our aim as prisons is to impart knowledge and skills which will then help these inmates after they complete their prison terms,” he said.
Pemhiwa also castigated stigma on inmates saying people should avoid labelling them criminals.
“Stigma is still evident in our communities. The media has a role to educate and inform society on the goings on of prisons and that there are no sacred cows here. Anyone may find their way to prison and being in prison does not dehumanise the individual,” he said.
“So integrity of the person still remains, lack of knowledge on the part of society makes it difficult for re-integration and makes room for repeat of offences due to stigma and discrimination.”