The Minister of State for Matabeleland North province, Richard Moyo, has advocated for the adoption of open female prisons which he said are conducive for facilitating inmates’ rehabilitation.

Speaking on behalf of Minister Moyo at the Matabeleland North Province Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Service prison day in Lupane, Acting Director in the Minister’s office, Tapera Mugoriya, said females are an integral part of society hence the need to keep them in touch with their families.

An open prison is a jail in which the prisoners are trusted to serve their sentences with minimal supervision and perimeter security and are often not locked up in their prison cells.

Prisoners may be permitted to take up employment while serving their sentence.

“Let me highlight the importance of establishing open prisons for female inmates, females are a very important and sensitive constituency within our communities whose roles favour that they be in constant touch with the family and community as opposed to outright incarceration,” Mugoriya read on behalf of the minister.

“The open prison system is more conducive for facilitating inmates’ rehabilitation and successful reintegration given that it is at most serving as halfway home, in this regard, inmates go on home leave while serving their prison terms thereby ensuring that family relations and ties are kept open and intact.”

Zimbabwe currently has the Conmara open prison which houses male inmates, sites have been identified in Marondera and Mutare to set up the same for female inmates.

Lack of resources is however a hindrance to the roll out of the programme which is expected to revolutionise the prison system’s operations.

The minister pleaded for more community involvement during the rehabilitation so as to afford the inmates a smooth return to society after serving their terms.