—A non-governmental organisation has called on the community to compliment government’s efforts in reintegrating ex-prisoners into society.
Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment Organization (PREO) Director, Derrick Malumo, said inmates are released from prison having either served their sentence, acquitted or pardoned by the President but fail to reintegrate into society due to stigma and discrimination.
Mr Malumo said government, through the Zambia Prisons Service, trains inmates while in prison with various skills, among them tailoring, plumbing, knitting and agriculture but are not given an opportunity to work by the community.
He told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka that the high levels of stigma and discrimination against ex-prisoners make it difficult for them to start a new life especially females whom he said are more vulnerable.
Mr Malumo expressed saddens at some of the relatives of the ex-prisoners whom he said have failed to accommodate them with the fear that they may have not fully reformed.
He said this situation has led other ex-prisoners to commit crimes that would later land them back in prison for accommodation.
Mr Malumo has, however, called on the community and the Church at large to identify, accept, accommodate and offer job opportunities to the ex-prisoners which he said would later lead to them possibly recording success stories through the various skills they acquired while in prison.
Meanwhile, Zambia Prisons Service Public Relations Officer, Doreen Ngoma, said the Prisons Service has recorded cases of ex-inmates being arrested and later sentenced to prison.
Ms Ngoma said it is because the community has failed to accept them back in society despite the rehabilitation programs offered to them by the prison service.
She said the prison service also has the Offender Management Unit that seeks to address some of the plights of ex-prisoners.
Ms Ngoma has praised some non-governmental organisations such as the Good Samaritan Centre in Kabwe which she said strives to address some issues of the vulnerable ex-prisoners.
She has, however, reiterated the need for the community to support government’s efforts through the prisons service of providing for the integration of ex inmates into society in order to reduce recidivism.