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Local prisons COVID-19 compliant

Commissioner of Botswana Prisons and Rehabilitation, Colonel Silas Motlalekgosi says local prisons countrywide are currently less congested.

Appearing before Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on July 24 Colonel Motlalekgosi said currently there are 3729 inmates and two kids, against the prisons’ holding capacity of 4 337 and this gave an under crowding status of 14 per cent, which enabled them to observe the  COVID-19 safety regulations. 

He said some of the law abiding inmates have been pardoned and released while others were transferred to Mahalapye Prison hence less congestion.

Colonel Motlalekgosi said the Francistown Prisons also came handy. “Francistown Prison has not been operational  for quite some time  due to issues of maintenance, however it is now operating and  71 inmates have been transferred there,” he said.

Colonel Motlalekgosi noted that inmates retained the right to, be visited, to vote and attend funerals of a close relative.

However, he expressed dissatisfaction about some members of the public who visited inmates with the idea to help them escape from prison, noting that some gave inmates sharp objects among others.

On issues of condemned inmates, Colonel Motlalekgosi said since 2017 to date, six executions had been done. “There is no vacant post for a hangman. Execution was done by prison officers who go for pre and post counselling in relation to execution,” he said.

Colonel Motlalekgosi further highlighted that although issues of homosexuality were perceived to be happening at local prisons, they had not collected sufficient evidence yet. “We suspect that homosexuality could be happening in our prisons for now but we do not have sufficient evidence,” he said.

Meanwhile Colonel Motlalekgosi further shared that prisons aspired to play a role towards local food security. He said they have a 200 hectare plot in Molepolole which they intended to turn it into a fully-fledged farm as it was in a prime area.

He said they were working with the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security on the matter.

Commenting on Commissioner of Prisons’ presentation, Member of Parliament for Tonota South, Mr Pono Moatlhodi expressed concern about the rejection and stigmatisation some ex-convicts dealt with when they return back to the community.

He said there was need for more education that would help the public to accept ex-convicts “We should embrace that ex-convicts have been punished for their offences and accept them back, rejection  might push them back to the edge of committing crime,” he said.

He said ex-convicts came back with skills they acquired while under rehabilitation, and such skills could make a difference in their lives and communities they lived in. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Chendzimu Mayepedza

Location : Gaborone

Event : PAC briefing

Date : Jul 26 Sun,2020

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