GWERU - The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has called upon its stakeholders under the Zimbabwe Associations of Organisations Working with Prisoners (ZAOWP) to help provide inmates with more Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to help combat the spread of the Covid-19 in prisons.
Speaking during the ZAOWP stakeholder engagement meeting last Friday in Gweru, ZPCS provincial nursing officer Engelbert Dube said the institution worked with various partners and Ministry of Health to closely monitor the wellbeing of inmates.
He said overcrowding in prisons made it difficult to enforce social distancing in prisons.
"Prison facilities were not spared from the devastating effects of Covid-19 and we registered 36 cases. As of now, the situation in our prisons is stable and we are conducting random tests to make sure that we closely monitor Covid-19 cases.
“We restricting large visits and visitors must undergo clearance process first as part of measures to protect inmates,” said Dube.
He pleaded for stakeholder support through the supply of facemasks and sanitizers for prisoners.
Voluntary Services Oversee (VSO) programs officer, George Matende said there was need for stakeholders to lobby and break down the cycle of reoffending among ex-convicts.
"We have seen many offenders getting certificates, diplomas and degrees while they are in prison but shortage of jobs remains the problem when they are released.
"They have qualifications but they still fail to get jobs due to the stigmatization due to their criminal records. Just as we accept them back into society, let's also accept them and recommend them to get work in various institutions,” said Matende.