THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice has raised concern over the government’s measly allocation to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS), which has often seen the institution operating without adequate food and linen for the inmates.
Source: Measly prisons allocation worries Parliament – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 6, 2017
By VENERANDA LANGA
In a report on the ZPCS 2017 National Budget allocation, the Jessie Majome-led committee said the prison service had sent a request for $84 700 000, but got $13 911 000.
“The ZPCS owes various service providers for provisions, rates, water electricity and vehicle hire to the tune of $11 741 880,” the committee noted.
“The Commissioner of Prisons has been served with lawsuits from the City of Harare in respect of unpaid rates, and the debts have ballooned way beyond the budget provision and are approaching $12 million.”
On rates and water, the debt is $4 250 518, electricity $800 000, telephones (fixed and mobile) $580 000 and vehicle hire $6 111 362.
In the past the ZPCS told MPs that prisoners walk almost naked due to shortage of uniforms, and that feeding of prisoners was dire.
The problems with diet resulted in prison riots in 2015, as inmates complained that the relish was not good enough, as they had long forgotten the taste of meat.
Other shortages in prisons include blankets, sanitary pads for female prisoners and underwear.
The committee said, generally, the budget allocated for the whole Justice ministry, which the ZPCS falls under is low, adding it was also reduced from $108 762 000 in 2016 to $91 379 000 in 2017, against a bid by the ministry of $100 742 160.
“Most of the ministry’s allocated funds are, therefore, going towards recurrent expenditure in the form of employment costs, goods and services and maintenance. The trend is worrisome given the dilapidated state of infrastructure in prisons and its dire security implications,” the committee said.