The government has embarked on a prison audit aimed at finding lasting solutions to overcrowding in correctional facilities.
The exercise is being undertaken by a combined team of researchers comprising of officers from the Ministry of Justice and National Prosecution Authority.
The researchers are divided into two groups with one group handling the northern part of the country while the other is targeting the southern part.
Team leader, Vanny Hampondela says the audit being undertaken by a team of researchers, is intended to promote and protect the human rights of the inmates in correctional facilities.
ZANIS reports that Mr Hampondela said this when he and his team paid a courtesy call on Muchinga Province Minister, Henry Sikazwe yesterday.
Mr Hampondela who is also Ministry of Justice Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist said the audit will involve short, medium and long term recommendations with a view of implementing the short term recommendations by 2026 from the challenges that will be found.
“We do understand that there is overcrowding in most correction facilities that is why we want to find out the causes as well as understand the situation on the ground. We want to see when the medium term recommendations can be implemented and how much time can be allocated for the implementation of the long term measures through the guidance of the researchers,” he said.
Mr Hampondela stated that the exercise is in line with one of the pillars of good governance which incapacitates human rights programmes with one centering on reforms of correctional facilities.
He has praised President Hakainde Hichilema for attaching importance to good governance saying the exercise will archive its mandate with support from government.
And Muchinga Province Minister, Henry Sikazwe said the move will help provide lasting solutions to address overcrowding in correction facilities not only in Muchinga but the country at large.
Mr Sikazwe noted that good governance is also measured on how well a nation looks after its inmates.
“This audit is of great use to government, make sure that a good research is done on the subject matter especially on decongesting these facilities,” he said.
So it’s an operational audit and not a financial audit. Well and good but an audit of the housing situation of Correctional staff is probably more urgent. Inmates doing time inside have harmed society and their welfare ranks lower than than that of the good guys. It therefore follows that attending to overcrowding in prisons should be done only after attending to overcrowding in classrooms, overcrowding in universities, overcrowding in hospitals etc. In other words, deal with the overcrowding affecting the good guys before attending to that affecting the bad guys.
The trend of bosses’ names in most of the government institutions beginning with “H” is now beginning to bring worry and wonder?
I hope it’s just an innocent coincidence.
A financial audit would also be most welcome as prisons have a tendency to purchase overpriced food for the prisoners as well as uniforms and other goods and services.
How can you audit yourselves…these are the audits were you invite NGOs in the team!!
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