Church, Correctional Services partner over inmate behaviourial change

ZAMBIA Correctional Services should partner with the church on the behavioural change among inmates because it only takes the work of God through the church to change someone’s life, says Mwembeshi Open Correctional Centre Chaplain Ms Jacqueline Simango Siazemo. Speaking yesterday on behalf of the Officer-in-charge, Ms Siazemo who is also a sub-inspector, said the church had a big role to play in correctional centres to shape the behaviour of inmates, adding that the church should partner with the Government to complement its efforts in the social service delivery. “Despite being the Government institution, we want to prove to you that we cannot work in isolation without the church. Instead, we need to partner with the church. “As we look after inmates, we all know that change only comes from above. It is not about being intelligent or knowing everything but it takes the grace of God for someone to change,” said Ms Siazemo. She said that as an institution, they had moved from being a prison service to correctional service, emphasising that the latter was about correcting where someone went wrong. “For our brothers to go back to society, they have to be corrected so that they become good citizens. When we look at our brothers who are in the correctional centres, they are not manufactured by these institutions but a product of the society and so let us not discriminate against or stigmatise them because they came from the society where we are. “Today it is them, tomorrow it might be someone else. Some are incarcerated here not only that they are guilty but they failed to convince the magistrate or the judge in the court or maybe they did not have money to pay for their legal fees,” said Siazemo. Meanwhile, Lusaka Conference of Seventh Day Adventist Communication Director, Dr. George Mwansa called on believers to walk the talk and translate their faith into actions as that was the only way for the church to minister to people in needy. Pastor Mwansa said it was a moral duty for everyone to visit correctional centres in fulfilment of the biblical command on the need to preach the gospel in such places. And Kanyama East Mission district Music Director Faith Choongo called on Christians to think of extending legal help to inmates who failed to secure legal assistance due to lack of money, adding that doing so would help economically challenged inmates to access legal help. He said this after donating an assortment of food staff and clothes at both Mwembeshi Open Correctional Centre and Mwembeshi Maximum all valued at K6 500.