Karonga ‘Dangerously Overcrowded’ Prison Risk Closure – Malawi Jails Regarded Epidemic Centres

Prisoners in Karonga feel unsafe and are at kept at seriously overcrowded degrading inhuman and life threatening conditions, officials have confirmed.

This was revealed on Sunday when a district business tycoon, Leonard Kiyombo visited the cells and donated assorted items worth K500,000.

Speaking during the meeting, Officer in Charge for the Prison Superintendent Prince Wasili said inmates’ lives are at risk of a transmittable bacterial diseases.

According to Wasili, the Prison is keeping 102 inmates instead of 30 without mattresses.

“The cells have no electricity, uncompleted and there is dangerously overcrowding of inmates,” said Wasili.

He added some inmates have to sit up throughout the night in the dirt and stench.

It was also revealed that the inmates are not given chance to learn vocation skills or continue their education because of lack of resources.

One of inmates, Samuel Nthache commended the prison warders for the care and love but appealed to government, business community and Non Governmental Organizations to come to their rescue especially by constructing another cells.

In his remarks after presenting the items, Kiyombo who is the owner of Lenzo Farm Produce and investments said he will ask fellow business people to bail out some problems facing by the inmates.

According to him, he decided to cheer the inmates on Easter Sunday because he is mandated as a Christian.

Among the donation include a cow, crates of soft drinks, bags of maize, cartoons of soap, bail of sugar, cooking oil, bail of salts and ballpoint pens.

Karonga isn’t an isolated case. In the city of Blantyre, Chichiri Prison and Maula in the capital Lilongwe, inmates face many of the same issues of overcrowding, malnutrition and unsanitary conditions. The situation is the same at Zomba maximum prison.

With high numbers of inmates and degenerating living conditions, prisons, which are supposed to be correctional centers, have become a disease hub, where infections spread rapidly among the inmates.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no one should be subject to torture, cruelty or any form of degrading form of punishment, but this rule does not apply in most overcrowded prisons as violence is usually on the rise.

Due to limited spaces and supplies, there is a tendency for bullying, coercion and conflict among the prisoners and the warders.

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Source: Nyasa Times

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