The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) is considering establishing an open prison for female inmates to allow them to remain in close contact with their families while serving their sentences.

This was revealed at the ZPCS pass-out parade held at Ntabazinduna training school in Umguza yesterday.

The open prison is earmarked for Marondera and the ZPCS is making efforts to mobilise resources through various means including public private partnerships (PPPs).

ZPCS Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi said the open prison will facilitate successful reunion of female inmates with their relatives after serving their sentence.

“We also want to move prison inmates to farms so as to reduce congestion and idleness in city prisons. By so doing, our inmates will get the opportunity to learn new skills in the farms which will help them when they return to the society,” he said.

In a speech read on his behalf, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa commended ZPCS for the hard work which has seen them harvesting 4000 tonnes of maize in 24 farms under the Command Agriculture Programme.

Part of the maize will be used for feeding inmates, thereby reducing food shortages in the prisons.

“We are very happy with the performance of ZPCS during the 2016-17 agricultural season. Apart from the harvest of 4000 tonnes of maize they harvested, the ZPCS have already started wheat production in some of their farms. This will not only reduce food shortages in prisons but contribute to food security in the country,” he said.

A total of 494 officers who include 138 females and 356 males successfully completed their six months training programme which covered human rights, security, health and martial arts, among others.