The Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment Organization (PREO) has commended President Edgar Lungu for pardoning 58 terminally-ill prisoners.
PREO Director Derrick Malumo has further requested President Lungu to use his presidential powers and pardon more prisoners in other state prisons.
Mr Malumo told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today that the move would decongest the prisons across the country.
He described the release from jail as a relief to families of the prisoners and urged government to help addressing the welfare of ex-prisoners as they reintegrate in society.
Minister of Home Affairs Davies Mwila ordered the release of the prisoners in accordance with provisions of the amended Prison Act No. 16 of 2004.
The inmates were released from prisons in Lusaka, Kabwe, Ndola and Kitwe.
At Kamfinsa State Prison in Kitwe, 34 inmates were released while in Kabwe, nine were freed from Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison, five from Mukobeko Medium Prison and four from Kabwe Female Prison.
In Lusaka, two prisoners were released from Lusaka Central Prison and four from Ndola’s Kansenshi State Prison.
Mr. Malumo advised inmates serving various sentences to be disciplined while in jail and encouraged them to learn various skills form the many skills training programmes being offered in prison.
He called on society to stop stigmatising ex-prisoners and help them settle in the communities so that they do not return to crime.
The release of 58 terminally ill ex-prisoners in the first quarter is the second presidential discretion since the beginning of this year.
In January this year, then Acting President Guy Scott pardoned a total of 126 prisoners from various prisons across the country.
Meanwhile, Mr. Malumo has called on government to establish a directorate at the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health to look into the welfare of ex-convicts.-Zanis