1 392 Malawi prisoners walk to freedom courtesy of EU fast-track initiative

Through the initiative funded by the European Union (EU) to fast-track the review of some prisoners’ cases and decongest the country’s  overpopulated prisons, about 1 392 inmates have walked to freedom.

Farewell hug as inmate leaves Chichiri Prison

Prior to the release of the 1 392 prisoners under the Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme, Malawi Prisons were home to 14 000 inmates against the design capacity of 5 5000, according to Inspectorate of Prisons Report of 2019.

With 1 392  inmates release, it will help to decongest the prisons amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The release under the EU funded programme follows camp court, prison inspections and screening of the critically ill inmates.

“These activities happen in normal time, but  Chilungamo is happy to make this extra  effort now to ensure that we protect the lives of prisoners  [by] adopting extraordinary measures to  address the threat of Covid-19,”  said EU team leader  for Chilungamo Programme, Sophie Racine in a statement seen by Nyasa Times.

The EU initiative has pumped in K55 million for the exercise.

Racine said she is impressed with the coordinating among the beneficiary institutions such as the Judiciary, Prisons, Legal Aid Bureau, and Malawi Police Service. Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Paralegal Advisory Services.

President Mutharika is also expected to pardon some prisoners to reduce the overpopulation in the jails.

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2 years ago

One unfortunate thing is that some of the pardoned/freed prisoners will find themselves back to prison in less than 3 days. Anyway the onus is with them as some were imprisoned just because they failed to impress the magistrates hearing their cases.

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