Speaking on Saturday during an HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis conference for Copperbelt officers at Kamfinsa State Prison, the inmates said the proposal to start distributing condoms in prisons was as good as endorsing the practice of homosexuality.
According to the inmates’ peer educators who sought anonymity, distributing condoms in prisons would be morally wrong especially that male and female prisoners are not locked up in the same cells.
“We would rather embrace programmes for good behavioural change than consent to the distribution of condoms,” the inmate said.
And Dr Oscar Simooya, the chairperson of In-But-Free, the non-governmental organisation that organised the workshop , said getting ill or becoming infected once in custody was not part of society’s plan for offenders.
He said his organisation is aware of the adverse conditions prevailing in prison establishments and that concerted efforts are needed to arrest the situation.
Dr Simooya cited the transmission of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis as one such adverse situation prevailing in Zambian prisons.
And Zambia Prisons Service Copperbelt Deputy Commander Robert Mwale said substantial success had been recorded in reducing HIV prevalence in prisons because of intensified behavioural change campaigns among inmates.
He said the promotion of HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis awareness that In-But-Free is conducting in Copperbelt prisons has led to significant change in behaviour among prisoners and officers towards tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS.
Some sections of the Zambian society have in the recent past proposed the distribution of condoms in prisons as one way of curbing the high HIV prevalence rate in the correctional facilities.
Zambia Daily Mail