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prison death rate rises
December 02, 2013
The death rate in Zimbabwe's
prisons has risen significantly in recent years as authorities battle
to provide inmates with adequate food, parliament heard on Monday.
Zimbabwe Prison Service
Deputy Commissioner Agrey Machingauta told a parliamentary committee
that the prison deaths had doubled to 100 per year in recent years
due to inadequate food and the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
"We are facing challenges
in feeding our prisoners properly and instead of providing three
meals a day, we are struggling to give them one meal a day due to
inadequate funding," Machingauta said.
He said the poor meals
were affecting the health of prisoners, some of whom are on antiretroviral
medication which requires healthy and balanced diet.
He said since the beginning
of the year, at least 100 inmates had died in the country's prisons.
"This is not a good
figure to talk about. Our wish is for the death rate to be under
control so that we stop sending away dead bodies than human beings,"
Zimbabwe currently has
18,460 inmates in its over 60 correctional facility across the country.
Machingauta said the
lack of funding from treasury deterred the prisons from producing
their own food. The prison service has 27 farms measuring 3,482
hectares of arable land.
If adequately funded,
Machingauta said the prisons, which require 340 tonnes of maize
per month, could be self-sufficient in terms of food.
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