Prisoners are paid between one and Three ngwee per day depending on their level of skills and specialized training and the money saved during their incarceration is given to them upon their release, Zambia Prison Service deputy public relations officer Stephen Kagoli has said.
This means that a person jailed for one year is entitled to K3 and 65 ngwee.
Mr Kagoli said the ZPS wanted to review and scale up the payment system for serving prisoners in order to make some of the outdated provisions relevant and reflective of the modern prison management standards.
He said the Zambia Prisons Service Cap 97, Article 113 states that the scales of pay that may be earned by prisoners as provided for by the Prisons Act was One ngwee, Two ngwee and Three ngwee per day in respect of levels of skill and specialty of an individual prisoner.
‘‘It is established from the provisions that every prisoner is entitled, on admission to prison, to be benefiting from an earnings scheme – a provision in the Prisons Act that recognizes and appreciates the skills and specialty of individual prisoners by earning something from their labour – both skilled and unskilled labour.
“The full amount of savings which a prisoner may accumulate under the earnings scheme shall be paid to the prisoner on discharge or release by the officer in charge and the prisoner shall sign their names in the prisoners earnings account book to certify the accuracy of the payment and it is receipted by the prison,’’Mr. Kagoli said.
He said the prison service has found that the amounts paid under the scheme, which are calculated in respect of the period of imprisonment of a prisoner, were too little and needed to be reviewed by Government.
‘‘Such generated income to a discharged prisoner cannot make meaningful impact to enable such persons start businesses and sustain themselves decently,’’ Mr Kagoli said.
He said offenders released from confinement faced a variety of challenges that might hinder their ability to be absorbed into society and become law-abiding citizens.
Mr Kagoli said the key feature of successful crime prevention strategies is the attention to the social reintegration of ex-prisoners into the community and the development of interventions designed to reduce the levels of repetition.
‘‘It is against such backdrop that the Zambia Prisons Service has included the prisoners’ earnings scheme, dietary scale and parole as some of the provisions under consideration for revision,’’ he said.
Mr Kagoli said the prisoners that were pardoned on 25th December 2015 were assisted with adequate logistics to enable them travel to their various destinations.
President Edgar Lungu two weeks ago pardoned 502 prisoners to mark this year’s Christmas celebrations.