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Malawi Prisons to introduce parole

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By Jameson Chauluka:

Malawi Prisons Service (MPS) has announced that it would soon start releasing selected prisoners before expiry of their jail sentences, an arrangement which is called parole.

Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, Bazirial Chapuwala, said this during the inauguration of Correction Management Course for Senior Prison Officers in Blantyre Monday.

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“We are reviewing the Prisons Act which is giving guidelines on how the parole will be conducted. In fact, our Penal Code recognises parole and we are taking that direction as a way of reducing congestion in our prisons,” he said.

Chapuwala, who is also the course coordinator, said the course has been tailored to enable MPS to move away from security and punishment of prisoners to more of a correctional facility.

Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi, who presided over the inauguration ceremony, said time had come for MPS to start focusing on reforming inmates.

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“Prison has to change its ways to match the global dynamism. In the past, the emphasis was on punishment and not correction of the prisoners. I have gone through the course and I am confident that it would benefit the service,” he said.

Dausi challenged MPS management to ensure that the objectives of the training were met.

“Let the fruits of the training be seen in the prison service. Today’s prison is human rights-based. After all, we are all potential prisoners and we must build good prisons with humane standards for everyone,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Chief Commissioner of Prisons, Wandika Phiri, said MPS was implementing many projects to improve lives of inmates and prison warders.

“All over the world, prisons are reforming to become places of reformation and correction of prisoners. We have officers from the Zambia Correction Service to share their experience on management of prisoners,” she said.

A 2018 Malawi Inspectorate of Prisons Report to Parliament says the country’s 23 prisons are overcrowded.

“Overall, the prison system is at 260 percent of its official capacity, with 14,778 prisoners occupying spaces built for only 5,680 persons. On the relevant dates of inspection, only three prisons were within their official population capacity,” the report reads.

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