16 May 2019

Malawi: Congestion At Mulanje Prison Putting Inmates At Risk

Mulanje — Mulanje Prison Public Relations Officer, Pitilizani Ng'oma has said congestion at the reformatory facility is affecting service delivery and putting inmates at risk of various contagious diseases.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency on Tuesday, Ng'oma said currently, the facility has 451 male and female inmates despite being designed to hold only 150 inmates.

He attributed the situation to the rise of criminal activities in the district and lack of prison facilities in neighbouring districts.

He said: "This prison also holds inmates from Phalombe District because they do not have a prison and some from Luchenza."

According to the prison publicist, the condition has put inmates at risk of suffering from diseases like tuberculosis (TB), diarrhea and other contagious sanitary illnesses.

"Recently, we had six inmates who were suffering from TB, we are lucky we have medical personnel from Mulanje Mission Hospital visiting us on a weekly basis to provide medical support to inmates, they were helped," he said.

He added that though sometimes there is also shortage of food at the prison, partners come in to assist.

Ng'oma said apart from putting inmates at risk of contracting diseases, congestion has also created supervisory problems as the prison has 53 warders only against 451 inmates.

"There are currently 53 officers at the prison, a situation far below the required standard. The prison needs 90 officers in order to meet its staffing capacity. One prison warder is currently managing 10 prisoners. This is more than the recommended ratio one officer to five inmates," he said.

He then appealed to well-wishers and various non-governmental organizations in the district to help, saying the poor conditions at the facility go against its intention to reform prisoners; instead they graduate into more hardcore criminals. Mana/bm/mmm/thz

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