Defilement, sexual offences top Mwembeshi prison

Mwembeshi Maximum Security Prison inmates - Photo Credit : Jean Mandela for
Mwembeshi Maximum Security Prison inmates - Photo Credit : Jean Mandela for

Most prisoners serving jail sentences at Mwembeshi maximum security prison were convicted of defilement and other sexual offences.


ZANIS reports that authorities at the maximum security prison disclosed this to the Legal and Justice Sector Reform Commission when it held a public hearing at the facility yesterday.


Mwembeshi Maximum Security Prison Officer In-Charge Enias Mbao said sexual offences accounted for over half of the inmate population at the prison facility which was opened a year ago.


Out of 469 inmates serving sentences at the prison facility, 268 committed sexual related offences with defilement cases amounting to 195 cases while 81 committed aggravated robbery, 58 murder and 11 manslaughter among others.


Last week, a 24 year-old Kabwe woman stunned the commission when she submitted that defilers should be castrated in addition to the maximum jail sentence of 25 year.


However, Mr. Mbao told the commissioners that the prison has stepped up correctional measures through educational activities and skills training which were bearing fruitful results.


He said 211 inmates have enrolled from grades one to ten while 94 were pursuing TEVETA examined skills training in bricklaying, tailoring, carpentry, mechanics, metal fabrication and gardening.


Mr. Mbao however bemoaned lack of classroom infrastructure to support and scale up the educational programme due to funding constraints.


And the commission has commended prison authorities for being innovative and steadfast in managing the correctional facility despite having a skeleton staff.


The prison facility which has a capacity of 600 prisoners has a staff of 55 officers instead of a required establishment of 220 officers.


Legal and Justice Reform Commission Chairperson Frederick Chomba said his commission will work round the clock to ensure that the institutional framework of legal and justice institution was enhanced to efficiently and effectively provide justice.


Meanwhile, the Zambia Prison Service has dispelled insinuations that homosexuality and sodomy were rife in Zambian prisons.


Deputy Commissioner Frederick Chilukutu explained that the prison service has failed to prove the extent of the unnatural sexual acts because it was largely concealed.


Mr. Chilukutu said his commission has always heard about homosexuality and sodomy in prisons through research findings and public concerns in newspapers.


He however said all prisoners were bound by rules and regulations and when found wanting, they are taken to court.