Friday 8 March 2019


Cabinet on Tuesday approved changes to the Prisons Act in a move that will see prisoners being accorded constitutional rights they deserve in line with international norms and standards. Prisoners will be allowed to consult a medical practitioner of choice at their own expense, while the parole system will be broadened to accommodate all categories of prisoners.

Further, the new prison system will cater for the needs of vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, juvenile offenders, as well as the disabled and other special categories of society with special needs.

Briefing journalists after a Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had approved principles for the repeal and subsequent enactment of the new Prisons Act.

“Cabinet considered a submission on principles for the repeal and subsequent enactment of the new Prisons Act by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,” she said.

“The repeal of the Prisons Act is principally aimed at addressing the inadequacies of the existing legislation through incorporating international norms and standards relating to prisons administration as well as to align the domestic law to the Constitution.

“More particularly, the proposed legislation seeks to achieve, inter alia, modernising the prisons legislation with a view to ensuring that it accords with international norms and standards regarding the administration and treatment of prisoners; promoting community involvement in prisons correctional services in order to ensure that prisoners do not face difficulties and hostilities upon reintegration into society and establishment of correctional community centres throughout the country.”

Giving an insight of the new changes, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the Bill should be in Parliament by May.

On correctional community centres, Minister Ziyambi said: “They are basically open prisons. Some of our offenders we will allow them to stay there, where they get life skills, rehabilitated and be prepared to be integrated back into society.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had received progress reports on the 100-day projects under the Ministries of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Information Communication Technology and Courier Services. Herald


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