ZAMBIA Correctional Service Commissioner General Percy Chato says suggestions made by Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCA) executive director Godfrey Malembeka that all HIV inmates should be granted a compassionate release was not attainable.
Mr Chato, however, explained that an HIV positive inmate can only be released on compassion discharge if the condition becomes terminal and doctors assess that the imprisonment may endanger his life.
The commissioner general further said that Zambia correctional service has a directorate of medical services that ensures that all HIV positive inmates are provided with adequate medical care and facilities.
“We cannot release inmates just because they are HIV positive without following the right procedure. We do have a system and it is done periodically and this is the right way to do things,” he said.
Recently, PRISCA Executive Director Godfrey Malembeka called on government to consider releasing all HIV positive patients from prisons because there are limited health services to attend to their health needs while incarcerated.
He said Zambian prisons have inadequate health service facilities coupled with poor diets which are unfavourable to the requirements of healthy living especially for people living with the virus.
Dr Malembeka said if Government took this step, it would be a perfect gift for prisoners as well as their families as they celebrate the birth of Christ.
He said Zambian prisons have inadequate health service facilities coupled with poor diets which are unfavourable to the requirements of healthy living, especially for people living with the virus.
Dr Malembeka added that the same forgiveness must be extended to the elderly and those with tuberculosis (TB) as the facilities do not support them due to the congestion in the holding facilities countrywide.
He said the move would also help to decongest the highly populated facilities where inmates were exposed to inhuman living conditions including shortage of beddings and uniforms.