THE Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) is determined to improve lives of prisoners while incarcerated and when integrated into society, commissioner-general Percy Chato has said.
And Mr Chato said the service, which is currently transforming from offering punitive to correctional services, has dedicated July 15, 2017 as a day of national prayers and action for prisoners.
Mr Chato said as the service works on transforming from offering punitive services, it is also working on repealing and amending the Prisons Act, of which a draft has already been done.
“We will ensure inmates engage in meaningful work and are well-trained with skills they can apply once they reintegrate into society. When one is incarcerated with hard labour, the inmate will undergo training so that at the end of their service, they are awarded with a certificate in a particular skill,” Mr Chato said.
Mr Chato said the national day of prayers and action for prisoners, which will be commemorated together with the 2017 Correctional Day, is part of the measures put in place as the service to transform from offering punitive services to correctional ones.
“We hope the community will be a key stakeholder in this change by Zambia Correctional Service. During a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, the Correctional Day was amicably changed to July 18 from September 26 so that it coincides with the Mandela Day,” he said.
Commissioner for corrections and extension services Tobias Mwanza said during a media breakfast yesterday that the institution is working with the three church mother bodies and other faith-based organisations to pray for prisoners in the country.
“This event is cardinal to us [Zambia Correctional Service] because it is our brainchild that aims to stimulate the church and community action to realise the full participation of the Church on prisoners,” Mr Mwanza said.