The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has commended the farm expansion programme which the Prisons Service has embarked on in a bid to improve the diet of inmates.
Human Rights Commission (HRC) information education and training department officer Mildred Chama said the budgetary allocation of K20 million in this years’ budget for modern agriculture equipment and the acquiring of more land by the prison service would help meet the diatory needs of inmates which was one area of concern.
Ms Chama said the HRC was concerned that currently the special diatory needs of sick inmates, pregnant women, elderly and children were not being taken into consideration.
She said HRC was convinced that the programmes embarked on by the Prisons Service were an indication of the Prisons Service’s dedication to improve not only the rights to food but also ensure that dietary needs were also met.
“The injection of K20 million into the Prisons Service for the farm expansion programme is a timely booster to the institution’s desire to feed inmates,” Ms Chama said.
She said the Commission congratulated Serenje District Council for giving the Prisons Service the 3000 hectares of land which would definitely assist the prison command in their agriculture expansion programme.
“The Commission would like to appeal to all officers to support the expansion programme in all prison farms and ensure the inmates are the key beneficiaries, and we are urging the Prison command to also diversify their farm produce to meet the demands of the inmates when it comes to diet,” she said.
And HRC has expressed concern on break outs of suspects who are in lawful custody.
Ms Chama said there was need to tighten security in all police and prison facilities.
“We do recognise that prison and police officers play a vital role in keeping communities’ safe and ensuring that the inmates are looked after well in line with human rights standards,” she said.
She appealed to the government to ensure that the plight of law enforcement officers were taken into consideration as the government embarked on improving the prison and police facilities.
Ms Chama said the commission has continued to monitor places of detention and recommends that the officers were also made to feel safe as they carried out their duties of protecting communities.
She said it was important in ensuring that the cells were safe and secure, which was the starting point for communities to feel safe and protected from offenders until the law takes its course.