Govt.’s intention to purchase vehicle for prisons commended

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The Advocacy for Good Governance, Gender Equity and Justice International (AGE-Justice International) has commended government for its intention to procure vehicles for use in the public services of the Zambia Prisons Service.

AGE-Justice International Executive Director Philemon Phiri said the Zambia Prisons Service has been having problems with ferrying a good number of inmates for court sessions, which has resulted in unnecessary adjournments.

Mr. Phiri has however recommended that government should in its intentions include the procurement of ambulances.

He said the ambulances can be used to meet health and clinical needs of female prisoners during their postnatal and antenatal period.

Mr. Phiri said a survey research to determine health conditions in Zambian prisons that was carried out by the Human Rights Watch and local human rights advocates discovered that some female inmates had two children in their custody and almost a quarter of the circumstantial children in prisons were living with HIV and TB co-infections.

He said AGE Justice International contends that the imprisonment of a woman who is a mother leads to the violation not only of her rights but also the right to good health and protection of her child.

Mr. Phiri said prison conditions in Zambia are not a safe place for pregnant women, babies and young children.

He said the complexity of the situation should not be an excuse for failing to protect the rights to good health and prompt medical attention of both the women and children in prison.

Mr. Phiri said women who get imprisoned whilst pregnant have particular health and nutrition needs which need to be considered in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and post-natal care.

He said the procurement of motor vehicles for the Prisons Service will not only improve the criminal justice system but also health and medical care for vulnerable inmates.