191122E – PRESIDENTIAL INITIATIVE TO REDUCE OVERCROWDING IN PRISONS LAUNCHED IN MAPUTO
Maputo, 04 Nov (AIM) – Mozambican Head of State, Filipe Nyusi on Friday launched in Maputo a Presidential Initiative called ″One district, One prison Establishment’, which seeks to decongest the prison system and make it more humane.
The existing prisons facilities were designed to accommodate about 8,000 inmates, but they are severely overcrowded and are now housing over 22 thousand inmates.
‘This initiative stems from one of the competences of the new government to design public policies that promote re-socialisation and social reintegration of inmates,’ said Nyusi, addressing representatives of the country’s Justice System that marked the Mozambique Legality Day.
Thus, the President added, as a way of decongesting provincial penitentiary establishments, there is a pressing need to build prison facilities at district level.
‘We expect to build district penitentiary establishments with a capacity to accommodate around 250 prisoners and they may include fields for agro-livestock production to make them self-sufficient,’ he explained.
Through this initiative, the Mozambican government plans to build 63 district-level prison establishments across the country by the end of next year.
In another development, Nyusi said that the sector of the Justice Administration system should adopt measures to humanise sentences and improve the living standards of citizens deprived of their freedom.
He stressed that the vast family of professionals of the system of Administration of Justice know how to honour the good name of this important sector and welcomed the theme chosen for this year celebrations ‘Humanisation of Penalties as an Imperative of Human Dignity’.
‘Can’t we adopt alternative measures to prison? Can’t we favour extra-judicial initiatives such as community and arbitration tribunals? Can’t we speed up the process of legalising imprisonment?’ he questioned, adding that the government has been granting pardons to citizens who were deprived of their freedom.
In his view, the prison system should only be designed for reintegration inmates into society, to ensure that a person who has already served his sentence does not re-offend.
‘I challenge the justice system to adopt measures to humanise sentences and improve the condition of citizens deprived of their freedom. We have to change the paradigm from a society that punishes to one that re-socialises,’ he stressed.