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Zimbabwe prisons reintroduce family week

by Staff reporter
14 Apr 2022 at 06:35hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) is set to reintroduce family week as part of efforts to successfully reintegrate incarcerated inmates into society.

Family week had been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will make a return as from tomorrow at all prisons across the country.

ZPCSZimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service national public relations officer Chief Superintendent Meya Khanyezi said the country still has a challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic and as such measures will be taken to ensure the interaction does not spread the pandemic.

"We've realised that rehabilitation is a process whereby you need the participation of the community because after the expiry of one's sentence, that person will go back to his or her family.

We don't want to cut ties hence these efforts to ensure family bonds don't fade.

In as much as we have prison visits, those visits are limited and controlled, but family week will run for five days and inmates will be given an opportunity to receive multiple visitors and they'll be allowed to be seated and eat as a family.

"Let's say an inmate has been given a 10-year sentence and in those 10 years fails to get a visitor, it means that once their sentence expires, there's nowhere they can go to.

When an inmate has been in prison for 10 years, having visitors helps in the rehabilitation process.

It is good for inmates to hear what's happening within their families such as knowing that their livestock is safe, marriages that have taken place, their money is protected and is being used wisely, the children are well taken care of and so forth.

It really helps having that sort of information," said Chief Supt Khanyezi.

She said family week is envisaged to smoothen the rehabilitation process and ensure reintegration is achieved.

"We're appealing to communities and those with relatives serving sentences behind bars to visit us.

There'll be lots of entertainment and braais taking place.

As we do that, we're going to observe Covid-19 regulations and we'll be working with our health personnel," Chief Supt Khanyezi said.

Prisons across the country will have different activities during that week.

"We're not only encouraging those with incarcerated relatives to visit but anyone who wants to make someone smile is welcome.

We have people in our institutions who don't get visitors not because they don't have relatives but because of the crimes they committed.

Family week is an opportunity for inmates to loosen up and forget about their sentences.

We want to allow them to dance a bit, shake off all the stress and enjoy the company of other people," she said.

Chief Supt Khanyezi highlighted that family week will now be conducted three times a year with the next one set to be held over the Christmas period.

"We also have the elderly in our institutions.

We have those who are mentally challenged and babies that live in prison because their mothers would have committed crimes.

They find themselves behind bars where the environment is not conducive for children.

If you're an organisation that deals with babies, this is also a reminder that there are infants living behind bars who need attention, toys and other resources," she said.

Source - The Chronicle
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