Female inmates are finally allowed flexibility in prisons just as their male counterparts through the opening of the first female open prison in Marondera, Mashonaland East Province, last week.
Marondera female open prison is the first open prison to be opened in Southern Africa, and it was officially opened by the first lady, Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa.
Speaking during the official opening, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programs, in Mashonaland East, Honorable Aplonia Munzverengwi commended the first lady for contributing to the success of the female open prison saying it is through hard work that the success was made possible.
“It is through our quest to have a transformed prisons and correctional management system in Zimbabwe coupled with some research works, adoption of the open dog policy and flexibility that has led to the successful launch of this event.” She said.
The opening of Marondera Female Open prison comes following the successful running of the male open prison, Conmara which was opened in the year 2000 in the midlands province.
Minister Munzverengwi said Marondera female open prison was made possible through the success stories derived from Conmara.
“It is because of the success stories derived from the institution that gave the organisation and the nation at large the confidence to establish a female open prison here in Marondera.” She added.
Meanwhile, ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu described the establishment of the female open prison as a milestone in their efforts towards a modernised prisons and correctional management approach.
“It is important to appreciate that women are by nature caregivers in families and communities at large, hence the idea of establishing such a facility enhances, promotes and bonds relationships with respective families. I want to accept that in spite of such a critical role, women have been omitted to benefit this preferential package of privileges. Resultantly, female inmates have continued their sentences under the closed system. However, today’s event marks a positive development in the observance of women’s inclusion and importance in our societies,” he said.
Currently there are 30 women housed there, but upon completion of construction it is expected to house 500. For one to qualify, the ZPCS boss said, the inmates would have committed unclassified offences.
The prisoners are allowed 14-day home visits per quarter and they are not supervised while at home, but they are obliged to communicate to the authorities if need arises.