For most prison inmates a visit by family members brings joy into their life as they get an opportunity to get supplementary food and counselling.

Due to the atmosphere that characterised Harare Central Prison this Wednesday (today), one could mistake the place for a leisure spot.

Forget the prison restrictions and rules, all inmates were in high spirits thanks to the Prisons and Correctional Services’ family week.

Inmates and their family members said this opportunity allows families to stay connected and family members to become part of each other’s lives.

“Most of us left home many years ago and seeing our family members after such a long time is a welcome initiative. We can as well get counselling and food supplements,” said some of the inmates.

Life behind bars is not at all rosy and such events come as a breath of fresh air as they promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners into society.

Meanwhile, inmates at Khami Maximum Prison most of whom are serving life sentences are having a memorable week thanks to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services’ Family Week.

The inmates said they have managed to build some bridges with relatives through the initiative.

The ZPCS Family Week has brought smiles to inmates and relatives of those incarcerated at Khami Maximum Prison as it has afforded them a rare chance of getting together and reuniting some with relatives they last saw more than ten years ago.

The ZBC News crew visited the prison this Wednesday (today) where it witnessed that apart from the entertainment galore presented by a number of musicians and poets, the inmates were being treated to braai and drinks and afforded time to chat with their relatives in a proper family setup.

There was agreement from both inmates and their relatives that the programme has a strong healing effect and should be extended to other holidays.

ZPCS Bulawayo Province Arts and Rehabilitation Ambassador Clarence Garururu who is also a musician famed as Kira said, his team targeted Khami Maximum Prison as most of the people there rarely receive visitors.

“If you look closely, some of these inmates have literally been abandoned by their relatives because of the nature of crimes they committed back home which range from murder to rape. We are saying they are human and deserve another chance, we are helping most of them to record music while inside and they are beginning to make money so that they can start somewhere once they finish their prison sentences,” said Garururu.  

The ZPCS’rehabilitation initiative is bringing positive change with most inmates leaving prison as converted Christians or as professionals like carpenters and farmers who can be able to find space in society once they gain their freedom.

The Prisons Family Week will run until the 19th of August.