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Judiciary wants more prisons

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The Judiciary has said constructing more prisons is a key strategy to controlling the congestion in prisons of the country.

The institution is currently implementing a Decongestion of Prisons Project using strategies such as confirmation, reviews and camp courts

On Friday, during a workshop, organised with financial support from the DfID, Coordinator of the project, Justice Healey Potani, said despite the strategies proving to be efficient, there is need to look beyond and increase the holding capacity of the prisons.

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“These prisons were built when the population was very small and they were able to contain the number of prisoners by then. I believe we are all aware that the crime rate is ever-rising, hence the need to have a space that can accommodate such numbers.

Potani said while the strategies aim at controlling the population, this should not compromise security in the country.

“We are not out there just to release everyone but those that have minor offences who can serve their punishments through community services among others. There are some people who really deserve to be there like defilers and murderers,” he said.

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Commissioner for Prisons (Operations), Masauko Wiscot, said currently there are over 14,000 prisoners out of which 11,000-plus are convicts.

While acknowledging the impact of the devised strategies, Wiscot echoed Potani’s sentiments and emphasised the need to increase prison spaces.

“If we relate confirmation to prison congestion, it has been revealed that the strategy alone cannot help to achieve our aim, probably could be by having more strategies like increasing number of prison cells. The capacity of our prisons still remains at 7,000 to 8,000,” he said.

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