THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) is reportedly “selling” prisoners as cheap labour to local authorities and other organisations, it has emerged.
NewZimbabwe.com has established that the department has reached a deal with Victoria Falls town council to provide labourer convicts at two dollars per inmate per day.
It could not be readily established why the cash strapped ZPCS decided to enter into such partnerships which could be seen as exploitation of prisoners.
Although prisoners are often engaged in such activities, they usually work on projects run by the correctional services organisation.
The deal with Victoria Falls council is captured in a recent report where councillors resolved that 15 inmates be engaged per day as and when their services are required.
“It was resolved that the council engages the services of Prison and Correctional Services prisoners at the approved charge of $2 per prisoner and as reasonably determined by ZCPS.
“The council should authorise management to engage a number which is equivalent to or below 15 prisoners as and when services are required by council,” read the council minutes.
According to the minutes, the local authority discussed the matter at its full council meeting after being approached by ZPCS.
The parties agreed on $2 per day per prisoner. The convicts will work on projects such as grass cutting and storm drain clearing.
“ZCPS has availed prisoners to assist council carry out grass cutting and drain clearing. ZCPS will be charging $2 per prisoner per day,” reported the general purpose committee during a full council meeting.
The committee viewed $2 as an affordable opportunity the council could utilise to clear grass and drainages and recommended that it be adopted.
Management then engaged the services of 15 convicts who would be accompanied by prison officers.