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Easy job for warders

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BY MDUDUZI MAGAGULA

 

MBABANE – His Majesty’s Correctional Services department is directly taking care of a total of 5 069 people.

The interesting aspect is that there are 2 069 officers looking after 3 000 inmates in the various correctional facilities countrywide.

This was revealed by Commissioner Isaiah Mzuthini Ntshangase.

It means that, on average, each warder only looks after one or two inmates. The commissioner said the welfare of his staff was a priority to government.

He said officers had a staff association made of both junior and senior officers.

He said the association’s responsibility was to look after the welfare of officers such that all officers’ problems were addressed expediently.

He also said the government of Swaziland was working hard to meet the basic needs of offenders.

"They are allowed to write letters to their loved ones and are also allowed to make calls to their relatives through the phone booths available in all centres," he said. He said in their dormitories they have TV sets and radios at their disposal for their leisure. Ntshangase said government had supported the department in its quest to provide education and health care for the 3 000 inmates.

He said to this end, government had hired teachers, nurses and chaplains who worked with inmates in their rehabilitation. He said with the help of government, the department has constructed a multimillion school and was in the process of constructing a school for offenders.

The construction work for this project is done by inmates with the help of officers.

This is a platform where they get to practise the skills they acquire at the institution.

He also said the department provided three meals per day to the inmates. "Inmates are being rehabilitated and empowered with skills that will assist them when they complete their sentences. They are empowered with skills in building, glazing, plumbing and agriculture," he said.

On another note, Ntshangase said the Correctional Services College would train recruits from Malawi Prison Services. The college will provide advanced training, especially on the area of human rights, which is a new component that has been recently introduced by the college.

The officers might come in as early as this year when the Swaziland department’s recruits are enrolled in the institution around September.

His Majesty’s correctional services is presently engaged in a process to recruit 150 officers from 13 000 applicants who applied in April.

The training of the Malawi officers will be offered as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed by the two departments on Friday night.

This was at the Matsapha Correctional Services College during a dinner hosted by Commissioner Isaiah Ntshangase. He had hosted his Malawian counterpart, Kennedy Nkhoma, who is the acting Chief Commissioner of the Malawian institution.

The MoU was a result of the Malawian department’s interest in the country’s progress in rehabilitating and the reintegration of inmates back to society. The Malawians learnt about Swaziland’s achievements when the commissioner made a presentation of the Swaziland correctional services scenario in a meeting for correctional departments in Tanzania in 2009. The Malawi delegation arrived in the country on Thursday and left yesterday.

While here, they were taken on tour to various correctional facilities. They visited Pigg’s Peak, Bhalekane Farm, Matsapha and Mawelawela facilities.

The ceremony was also attended by Isaac Magagula and Sobantu Dlamini, the Commissioner of Police and Army Commander respectively. It was witnessed by 100 officers. In his address, Ntshangase said the signing of the agreement meant the two countries’ institutions would collaborate on various aspects of Correctional services management, rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates. He said the departments agreed to work together in staff development, research and the exchange of culture among other things.

On the local front, Ntshangase said the country had made progress in implementing the component of human rights in the correction of inmates.

He said his department had achieved a lot in its quest to rehabilitate inmates and the results were showing in the stability in numbers of people admitted into the institution.

Mawelawela the cleanest

 

MATSAPHA – Kennedy Nkhoma the acting Chief Commissioner for the Malawi Prisons Services awarded Superintendent Gabisile Manyatsi with 100 US dollars, about E700, for the cleanliness of Mawelawela women correctional facility. He singled out Mawelawela as the best in terms of the upkeep and rehabilitation of inmates.

He said when he first visited the facility months ago, he found it spotless and when he returned, it was better.

This was one highlight of Nkhoma’s happiness over the condition of the country’s facilities which he describes as world class. He said this when he concluded his visit in the country in a dinner function hosted in his honour by the Swaziland Correctional services department.

Nkhoma said he was impressed with facilities at the Malkerns Juvenile Centre where young offenders were being rehabilitated.

He said his country’s correctional department housed 13 000 inmates in 32 correctional centres.

The acting chief commissioner said he would implement all what he leant in Swaziland in these facilities. He said his goal was to move away from the colonial indentation of punishing inmates.

"We want to rehabilitate them and integrate them back to society," he said. He said this was the reason his country’s correctional department had components of agriculture, humanitarian and health, all dedicated to the welfare and rehabilitation of inmates. Nkhoma said his department and the government of Malawi were working hard to improve the conditions of Malawian jails.

 

He said in a historic development, the new President, Joyce Banda, had visited the department’s facilities three times in her three months in office. The first woman president of Malawi pledged to rebuild a correctional facility using her personal funds.

He then invited Swaziland Commissioners to visit Malawi so that they may witness and learn how inmates were rehabilitated.

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