Government has approved the Prisons and Correctional Services Bill which seeks to improve legislation to meet international standards.
This was revealed by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa during the 6th Cabinet Press Briefing in Harare yesterday.
In its quest to align its laws with the constitution and in ensuring that it meets the international norms and standards regarding prisons administration, the Government seeks among others to meet the needs of vulnerable groups as well as to ensure the smooth reintegration of former prisoners back into society.
The Minister noted that among other things the Bill seeks to improve the lives of pregnant women in prison.
“The Prisons and Correctional Services Act will ensure that the prison system caters for the needs of the vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, juvenile offenders as persons with disabilities and other special categories in society that have special needs,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Furthermore, the Bill aims to transform prisons from being incarceration centres to rehabilitation centres, preparing prisoners for life after prison.
“The legislation will provide for the establishment of correctional community centres throughout the country which will ensure the decongestion of prisons as certain prisoners will be released from standard prisons to reside in such community centres. They will also serve the purpose of easing the transition of inmates from incarceration life to community life,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
The Bill will further promote community involvement in Prisons and Correctional Services to allow for a smooth reintegration of prisoners back into society. This will remove any form of stigmatisation that hangs around prisoners for a long time after prison life.