MUTARE – Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) here has called for a maximum security prison to house dangerous inmates after the opening of a permanent High Court in Mutare.
ZPCS officer commanding Manicaland Didymus Chimvura told Chief Justice Luke Malaba after a tour of a High Court complex under construction that his organisation was in a quandary as it did not have a prison secure enough to hold dangerous prisoners.
“We currently do not have a grade four prison. A grade four prison holds prisoners with long jail terms of more than seven years and the coming of the High Court is going to mean that we might have an overcrowding of dangerous criminals,” Chimvura said.
He, however, expressed satisfaction that there are holding cells being built at the new High Court building as opposed to Mutasa Magistrates’ Courts which has no facility to house prisoners when they come to court.
“We are pleased that you gave consideration to prison cells in the High Court building unlike in Murambinda which was initially built without holding cells and at Mutasa which does not have any prison cells,” Chimvura said.
Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) secretary Justice Rita Makarau said they would correct the anomaly at Mutasa Magistrates’ Courts, which was built as a child-friendly court with funding from Plan International.
“ . . . We will address that challenge but these are courts that
were built by our developmental partners and as you know there is a limit to what you can ask for,” Makarau said.
Chief Justice Malaba said some cases were taking too long to complete because of the long distance to Harare.
“Delay in justice is an injustice,” Malaba said.
National Prosecuting Authority board member Misheck Mugadza implored JSC to open a regional court in Chipinge to deal with serious criminal cases from the southern parts of the province.
“All the facilities are there. It is very difficult for people to come from Chipinge, Chimanimani and Birchenough Bridge which are being served by this regional court (Mutare). The problem is on movement of records and of prisoners, some of whom are quite dangerous,” Mugadza said.
Justice Makarau said they would have to meet with ZPCS and police to see the feasibility of the proposal