ZIMBABWE and Botswana are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will see prisoner exchange where a national serving in another country will complete part of the sentence in his or her country.
The agreement, if implemented will see more than 400 Zimbabweans who are serving in different jails in Botswana completing part of their sentence in Zimbabwe while about 10 Botswana nationals serving in Zimbabwe also finish their terms in Botswana.
In a side interview after addressing Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) recruits and the visiting Commissioner of the Botswana Prison Service Dinah Marathe and her delegation, at Ntabazinduna Training Depot yesterday, ZPCS Commissioner General Moses Chihobvu said talks were underway to have the prisoners from either country going to complete their sentences in their home countries, if they so wish.
“I feel very happy for this exchange programme that we are going to introduce.
I wish we could speed up the Memorandum of Understanding because it is going to benefit us as the correctional services in Zimbabwe and also the Botswana Prison Service because we are going to have exchange programmes and try to modify some of our training services that we are going to be doing.
“The MOU includes the transfer of inmates from either country, we are looking at our inmates who are Zimbabweans, if they want to finish their sentence here in Zimbabwe, they can be transferred.
If they do not want to, they will serve in Botswana,” said Comm Gen Chihobvu.
Asked on the figures of the inmates in Botswana, he said they bordered around 400 inmates.
“To give you the numbers of how many prisoners are in Botswana right now, I am not sure, but I am told that they are plus or minus 400 with various offences and with the Batswana I think we have less than 10 who are in prison in Zimbabwe,” said Comm Gen Chihobvu.
Commissioner Marathe together with her seven-member delegation is on an exercise to take notes from ZPCS as they seek to implement best practices from the country’s correctional and rehabilitation facilities.
They have toured various prisons in the country and will today visit Khami Maximum Prison and Anju Prison farm in Nyamandlovu.
“I am in Zimbabwe in particular because Zimbabwe has progressive rehabilitation and reintegration programmes that we have identified as Botswana Prison Service (BPS) to benchmark on our programmes.
I came here on the invitation of the Commissioner General to appreciate the work that they do, because back in Botswana we have also started implementing a rehabilitation and reintegration strategy whereby we are taking the prison service to the people.
The nation has to play a part in the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners, they should not just see them upon release,” said Comm Marathe.
She said correctional services in the Sadc region were mandated to collaborate in training and other areas.
“Looking around Sadc, we have a strategic plan within Sadc that says we should train jointly.
For a start I identified Zimbabwe as an immediate partner with programmes that are already in place that is why I came with my team here to learn and to find out what can be implemented back at home.
One particular area that we have identified especially in the training college is that they have included farming as a business,” she said.
She also extended an invitation to ZPCS to train some of the officers in Botswana.
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