Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) has attributed the horrific conditions in the country’s prisons to lack of coordination among key players in the criminal justice system.
CHREAA’s Executive Director Victor Mhango said conditions in most prisons have moved from bad to worse due lack of deliberate measures that can help to deal with congestion.
“Our prisons are supposed to accommodate 5,500 prisoners on daily basis but at the moment they are accommodating close to 16, 000 prisoners so it means the issue of congestion is still there in the prisons.” Mhango said.
He hinted that much work needs to be done in the criminal system to improve the current situation.
“CHREAA successfully pushed for the removal of vagrancy laws but some police officers have started fighting a replacement of rogue and vagabond. Cases on disorderly are now commonly used by the Police which means they are still arresting people on petty offences,” he said.
Mhango said unless the courts stop hearing minor offences, congestion in prisons cannot be tackled.
“Sometimes the courts do entertain petty cases and this is not helping the prisons because they are at the receiving end,” Mhango said.