A total of 146 inmates were released in Masvingo province under presidential amnesty aimed at reducing congestion at the county’s prisons in the face of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
The presidential amnesty will see about 3 000 prisoners who have been caged for non-violent crimes being released from the country’s prisons which have been accommodating over 22 000 inmates against a maximum carrying capacity of 17 000.
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Masvingo provincial spokesperson Assistant Principal Correctional Officer Stanslous Sanike said they have started releasing prisoners in line with the presidential amnesty.
“In Masvingo province, we have 146 inmates who were realised from prison. We have inmates who were realised from Mutimurefu prison, Masvingo remand prison, Chiredzi prison and other satellite prisons dotted around the province,” said Sanike.
Sanike said the release of the inmates will help to stop the spread of Covid-19 in prisons.
“This move will certainly help stop the spread of Covid-19 in prisons since they will be decongested. I am happy to proclaim that even before their release, efforts to contain the spread of the virus were in place and proved to be effective,” said Sanike.
Those to be released had been convicted of non-violent crimes and those convicted of crimes such as murder, treason, human trafficking, and sexual offenses will not benefit from the presidential amnesty.
The presidential amnesty will include a full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment to be granted to all juveniles under the age of 18, save for those convicted of specified offences. The prisoners should have served at least one third of their sentences.
Remission of sentence for all females prisoners is also under this presidential amnesty where a full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment to be granted to all female prisoners and remission of sentence on medical grounds to all prisoners who have been terminally ill for a prolonged period without recovery.