Congestion, shortage of cooking utensils, consistent blockage of toilets and lack of transport are some of the challenges facing inmates at Lusaka’s Kamwala Remand Prison.
This came to light yesterday when Home Affairs deputy permanent secretary Wills Mangibelo, Lusaka magistrates, Immigration officers and other stakeholders visited the prison to familiarise themselves with living conditions of prisoners.
Mr.Mangibelo later assured inmates that the challenges they were facing will be a thing of the past soon as government was more than ready to meet most of them.
He immediately instructed the Regional Commander to get a quotation for the purchase of two more cooking pots.
Mr.Mangibelo confirmed that government has also commenced the expansion of prisons and the works were underway at Mwembeshi State Prison to help reduce congestion.
And Chief Resident Magistrate Mr Joshua Banda said lack of transport to ferry prisoners to courts had enormously contributed to delays in hearing their cases.
Mr Banda said apart from that, the courts were too small to accommodate a big number of inmates attending courts
And the inmates told Mr Mangibelo that the prison was congested and the risk of contracting communicable diseases was very high.
The prisoners said they took their meals late because the two pots were not enough to cook sufficient quantities of food for the more than 700 inmates.
They also complained of delays in disposing of their cases due to lack of transport to ferry them to courts on the days of hearing their matters.
They further stated that toilets were persistently blocked thereby creating problems for them to answer the call of nature.
Mr Mangibelo said that visit had given him a great opportunity for his ministry to know the difficulties inmates were going through.
He also commended the magistrates for their effort to visit the prisons and listen to their cries.