Thursday, September 16, 2021

Covid-19: PPEs required for prisoners in Midlands

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GWERU – The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional
Services (ZPCS) has called upon its stakeholders under the Zimbabwe Associations
of Organisations Working with Prisoners (ZAOWP) to help provide inmates with
more Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to help combat the spread of the Covid-19
in prisons.

Speaking during the ZAOWP stakeholder engagement meeting
last Friday in Gweru, ZPCS provincial nursing officer Engelbert Dube said the
institution worked with various partners and Ministry of Health to closely
monitor the wellbeing of inmates.

He said overcrowding in prisons made it difficult to enforce
social distancing in prisons.

“Prison facilities were not spared from the devastating
effects of Covid-19 and we registered 36 cases. As of now, the situation in our
prisons is stable and we are conducting random tests to make sure that we
closely monitor Covid-19 cases.

“We restricting large visits and visitors must undergo
clearance process first as part of measures to protect inmates,” said Dube.

He pleaded for stakeholder support through the supply of facemasks
and sanitizers for prisoners.

Voluntary Services Oversee (VSO) programs officer, George
Matende said there was need for stakeholders to lobby and break down the cycle
of reoffending among ex-convicts.

“We have seen many offenders getting certificates, diplomas
and degrees while they are in prison but shortage of jobs remains the problem
when they are released.

“They have qualifications but they still fail to get
jobs due to the stigmatization due to their criminal records. Just as we accept
them back into society, let’s also accept them and recommend them to get work
in various institutions,” said Matende.

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