The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs,Â Mr. David Mangota says his ministry is working together with child representatives to devise a strategy on how to improve the conditions of convicted juveniles and infants whose mothers are serving jail terms.
A pre-trial diversion pilot project to deal with juveniles and infants outside the normal court process is on the cards after the realization that it is not conducive to try young people in the same way as adults. The Pilot project is expected to be introduced in Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo and will run for 3 years.
Â ThereÂ is need to rehabilitate young children back into the society and to help children of imprisoned mothersâ€, said Mr. Mangota .
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Gerald Gwinji said there is need to come up with a solution to improve the conditions of the prisons for the sake of infants who can not be separated from their mothers for health reasons.
â€œThe motherâ€™s milk is the healthiest thing for the childâ€¦. Even if the mother has been incarcerated it does not mean they are harmful to their children,â€ said Dr. Gwinji.
The Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs together with UNICEF, Save the Children Norway, and International Crescent of the Red Cross Society will also visit Mulondondlozi Prison for mentally challenged females and Hwahwa Young Offenders Section to assess the conditions for prisoners and come up with solutions on the best ways to help Incarcerated young people.Â Â Â