10 November 2010

Mozambique: Government Plans New Prisons

Maputo — the Mozambican government intends to build more prisons in order to reduce overcrowding in the country's jails.

The government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Alberto Nkutumula, told reporters after a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Tuesday, that "The rehabilitation and construction of prisons is under way. Also envisaged is the construction of model prisons with space for re-offenders, for minors, and for women, with a clear separation of inmates, based on their sex, age and the type of crimes committed".

"The ideal would be to build new prisons with the same capacity as the existing ones, which should hold a maximum of 6,500 prisoners", said Nkutumula. "If prisons with this capacity were built, the problem of overcrowding would be solved".

This, however, entirely depends on the availability of money. Nkutumula said that one new prison, capable of holding 2,500 inmates, will be built in Maputo province as from next year. The cost is estimated at 18 million US dollars.

This prison complex will include a football field and other sports facilities, schools and even playgrounds for prisoners' children

Another two prisons of the same size are required to deal fully with current requirements.

Nkutumula did not give the current figures for prison overcrowding - but it is known that in June there were 2,311 people incarcerated in the country's largest jail, the Maputo Central Prison, which was built to house just 800 inmates.

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