Some pronouncements made by court justices and magistrates during official visits to prison facilities have created tension between prison officials and inmates, some Zambia Prison Service officers have complained.
The prison warders told the Daily Nation that during judges’ visitation to the prisons and holding facilities in the country, there were a lot of pronouncements made regarding the quick disposal of cases as well as possible improvements to the court proceedings.
They charged that delaying the implementation of such pronouncements created tension between officers and the suspects who felt that prison authorities were deliberately delaying progress of their case.
“When the judges and magistrates visit prisons, they make pronouncements which are meant to improve the court proceedings and this makes the prisoners happy, but there is slow progress and case management leading to delays and this always brings tension between the officers and the inmates.
“We would like to see such pronouncements put into effect as it would help in the high prison congestion, as well as hasten closure of court matters,” one officer said.
The officers were commenting on regular delays in calling inmates to court, including progress in the trial and conclusion of matters of inmates.
The officers who refused to be named said prisoners tend to become aggressive after such pronouncements because it made them expectant of a speedy court process which in most cases was not.
On October 28, 2015, a number of judges and magistrates from the Lusaka High Court and the magistrates court undertook a visit of some prisons and security holding facilities around Lusaka where several pronouncements were made including proposals to improve court proceedings as well as the quick disposal of cases.