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First report of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights on the state of prisons and prisoners
Parliament of Zimbabwe
July 20, 2011

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Executive Summary

The Committee visited Harare Central, Chikurubi, Mutare, Mutimurefu and WhaWha Prisons at a time when living conditions of prisoners was worsening due to budgetary constraints. The Committee noted that there was an acute shortage of basic requirements needed by prisoners. Lack of toiletries, ablution facilities and the unavailability of water for a long time at some prisons were disturbing. Prisoners' diet needed to be improved so that the food is more palatable.

Zimbabwe Prison Service faced challenges in servicing the courts throughout the country because of lack of inadequate transport and fuel. The Committee noted that most of the vehicles used were aging and unreliable. Some of the stations had no vehicles at all.

Prisoners at all prisons visited were wearing tattered uniforms and this was attributed to lack of adequate funding.

ZPS was also unable to acquire the necessary drugs that were required for sick prisoners due to inadequate funding.

The Committee noted with the concern that funds were made available too late to enable ZPS to buy farming inputs. Otherwise, ZPS would be self sufficient in terms of production of maize to feed prisoners.


1.1 As part of its oversight role, the Thematic Committee on Human Rights resolved to conduct a fact finding visit to prisons with a view to assess the condition of prisons and prisoners in order to determine whether they are in keeping with the human rights standards.

2. Methodology

The Committee invited the Commissioner of Prisons for oral evidence on the state of prisons and prisoners but his Deputy came in his place. The Committee also invited Zimbabwe Association of Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation (ZACRO) to brief the Committee on how the organization works with prisons. Visits to Harare Central, Chikurubi Maximum, Mutare, Mutimurefu and WhaWha prisons were conducted, where meetings were held with prisons officials and prisoners.

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