As workers in the country’s judiciary continue boycotting work to force government to increase their monthly salaries, the number of inmates at Mzuzu Prison has doubled, exerting pressure on the prison’s resources.
Regional Public Relations Officer for Prison Service in the North, Austin Mwasangwale, said if courts were functioning, the pressure could have eased.
He said the number of inmates in the prison has almost doubled since the judicial strike, now entering its fifth week, begun.
“In Malawi’s justice system there are three bodies involved. Thus the police first, then the court and later the person is taken to serve a jail sentence if found guilty.
“It’s not normal for a person to be arrested and thrown into prison straight away without going through court trials,” he said.
The courts, he said, would have eased pressure on the prison’s resources had it been they were functional.
“Mzuzu Prison was constructed to accommodate 260 inmates, but as of now the number has almost doubled. As of today [Friday], we have over 400 inmates, which are exerting more pressure on the prison’s resources such as food,” said Mwasangwale.
The judicial staff has been holding a country-wide strike since late October this year, demanding government to hike their monthly salaries by 30 per cent, according to media reports.
Recently, judges of the High Court across the country also vowed to join the strike if government does not bow down to the demands of the judiciary’s support staff anytime soon.-Reporting by Yohane Chideya, Mana