THE Prisons Service has bemoaned the overcrowding of the correctional centres in Eastern Province.
Acting Prison Commanding Officer Alex Chibale told High Court Judge Gertrude Chawatama during the official opening of the Chipata High Court session yesterday that the correctional centres also known as prisons in the province were 80 percent overcrowded.
Superintendent Chibale said the correctional facilities were built for smaller inmates but were currently overcrowded.
“The correctional facilities in the province are 80 percent overcrowded and these were constructed for the smaller inmates but are overcrowded,” he said.
Mr Chibale said the correctional centres in the province were currently holding 2,045 inmates.
As at 09:00 hours, Chipata correctional centre had 960 inmates, Katete correctional centre 259 inmates, Petauke correctional centre 290 inmates, Nyimba correctional centre 218 inmates and Lundazi correctional centre 318 inmates respectively.
He explained that situation in all the correctional centres was calm despite facing the challenges with lack of adequate staffs at Chipata Correctional centre.
He said Chipata Correctional Centre had a staffing level of 47 instead of the 160 officers thereby stressing the officers who were at the centre.
Mr Chibale said correctional centre which was known as Namuseche was also facing the challenge with transport.
He said it was posing security risks to transport inmates serving long sentences to either Mukobeko Correctional Centre or Mwembeshi Correctional Centre.
He also said both inmates and correctional staffs were facing the biggest challenges of lack of uniforms.
Mr Chibale said there was need for enough uniforms as well as the rehabilitation of the houses for the correctional staffs who were currently staying in a dilapidated houses.
And Ms Justice Chawatama promised to visit Chadiza open air correctional centre at an appropriate time.