Following President Lazarus Chakwera’s directive to reduce the prisoners’ sentences by six months, the Malawi Prison Services say it is still waiting for its stations across the country to finish reviewing files of the prisoners before coming up with new dates for the convicts to be released.
In exercise of his constitutional powers as head of state, Chakwera reduced sentences for the prisoners by six months with the aim of decongesting the country’s prisons to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to YFM online, national spokesperson for Malawi Prison Services, Chimwemwe Shaba, said they are still waiting for reviewed file reports for all prisoners from all stations to be submitted to the headquarters.
Shawa said: “Currently we are reviewing the files of the inmates, to deduct six months as directed by the president, to come up with revised dates for the prisoners to be released but at the meantime the exercise is at the station level as all the stations are reviewing files of individual prisoner and there after the files will be submitted to the prison headquarters for a final consolidation.”
However, he expressed optimism that the exercise will be finalized by Friday, August 28.
“It would be better if we talk on Friday because I believe by then the stations will conclude reviewing the files because they are doing the exercise with haste and by that day the department will come up with a comprehensive report,” said Shaba.
But Shawa declined to disclose the actual figure of prisoners whose files are under review saying he will come up with the figure on Friday.
According to section 89(2) of the Republican Constitution of Malawi, the head of state is mandated to facilitate congestion of prisons through pardoning the convicted offenders, to granting stays of execution of sentence, reducing sentences and remitting sentences.
Apart from reducing the sentences, the president has also pardoned 499 prisoners.