President Emmerson Mnangagwa has directed the release of 4,270 prisoners from the country’s correctional facilities under a Presidential Amnesty order meant to decongest the country’s overcrowded jails.
In a statement, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) public relations officer Chief Superintendent Meya Khanyezi, said of the total number of inmates set for release, only 104 are women.
Harare province has the highest number of inmates to be pardoned – at 790.
Bulawayo has 688 prisoners set for release, Midlands (537), Manicaland (552), Mashonaland East (397), Mashonaland West (340), Mashonaland Central (206), Masvingo (398), Matabeleland North (231) with Matabeleland South having the least, at 131.
Khanyezi appealed on family members and society at large to reintegrate the former inmates.
“Following the meticulous process of verifying potential beneficiaries, ZPCS has embarked on the exercise of releasing inmates.
“We would like to appeal to the close family members, stakeholders and the society at large to embrace and accept inmates who have been released on amnesty.
“Successful reintegration of inmates back to society is not the sole mandate of ZPCS alone but it requires combined efforts from all citizens of Zimbabwe.
“These inmates were being rehabilitated and have been serving for the offences they committed against the state, therefore, those aggrieved are encouraged to forgive them for their successful reintegration into the society,” Khanyezi said.
Zimbabwe’s prisoners were last released under a presidential amnesty in 2021.
Amnesty is meant to decongest the country’s prisons which carry inmates, way beyond their holding capacity.
According to a report presented in the National Assembly following visits to local prisons by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs recently, all the country’s major prisons were overcrowded.
The report says as of August last year, Zimbabwe’s prison population stood at 22,114 against a holding capacity of 17,000 inmates.