THE Zambia Correctional Services (ZCS) is compiling a list of inmates whose sentences are almost expiring and those serving lesser ones to be released as a means of creating enough space for convicts during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ZCS head of public relations Doreen Ngoma disclosed this to News Diggers! in an interview, explaining that the Service had recommended to the Ministry of Home Affairs to have inmates, whose sentences were bailable, together with those with sentences almost expiring, to be released, among other interventions.

“We have been opening up facilities to accommodate these inmates during this period of COVID-19. What we have also done is to come up with a list of those whose sentences are almost coming to an end and are set to be released soon, like in a month or so, and recommend that those are released. During this period, we have also tried to move some inmates to other facilities where we want to make them as isolation centres in case we have any case of this disease. In some places, like Kabwe, for example, what we have done is to move inmates from Mpima Correctional Centre to other facilities that are not in use so that we can prepare the Mpima facility for any cases that may arise. We are trying to also be ready in case we have any case of the COVID-19, but we are hoping that we don’t,” Ngoma explained.

“And it’s not only Mpima, in other provinces, also, there may be buildings that are not in use, so we are turning those into isolation centres as well. So, we are just doing everything we can as a Service just in case there is any case that we may have of this disease.”

She explained that the Service had recommended to the Ministry of Home Affairs to have some inmates released.

“We have also recommended that mothers with small babies should be considered in this case because babies can be very susceptible to infections. So, we are trying to recommend that mothers with small babies be released as a way of saving them from the infection. Then, we are also trying to look at those with cases that are either bailable or those who are having sentences that are almost expiring. So, we are going recommend that those be released, and mothers with children also fall in that category. So, we will recommend to that Committee that sits in the Ministry of Home Affairs to see how this situation can be helped,” said Ngoma.