THE Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA) has called on Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Community Development to consider adding to the list of beneficiaries of the social cash transfer scheme, women who have been released from Correctional Facilities.
Executive Director Dr. Godfery Malembeka said that this would help reduce the agony and misery most women undergo when they rejoined society after being released or pardoned.
In an interview with the Sunday Nation in Livingstone, Dr. Malembeka noted that when women were incarcerated, they learned a number of skills while serving their sentences but that when they were released, they always had difficulties to cope within society.
“When you look at what is happening today, you will realise that when women who are incarcerated are released from correctional facilities, they have difficulties in catching up.
“That is why, as PRISACA, we feel Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Community Development should do something,” he said.
He said female inmates also suffered more stigma and discrimination than the male inmates when they were released.
“Being in prison does not mean they are no longer part of our families or communities. After all, once out of prison; they go back to their communities and families where they come from. I feel those who are pardoned should be put on the list of beneficiaries of social cash scheme which the Ministry Community Development is implementing because while they are in prisons, they learn a lot,” he said.
He said there was need for the two ministries to work together and complete the circle and also see how they could empower female inmates who were pardoned.
And Dr. Malembeka has praised the Patriotic Front (PF) government for its continued efforts in alleviating the sufferings of inmates in the country.
He observed that the construction and commissioning of a mini hospital at the Livingstone Correctional Facility is a clear indication that the PF government cared for those who were in prison.
“For Government to achieve the principle of incarceration, we need health prisoners and I am very happy with what the PF government is doing to help the situation,” he said.
Dr. Malembeka further said the relation between the Ministry of Health and Home Affairs must be strengthened.