By Christine Chiromo
Heart of Woman has donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) to female prisoners in a bid to fight the Covid 19 epidemic, chairperson, Vimbai Chingwaramusee has said.
The prisoners’ support organization, Heart of Woman has taken a bid to help inmates during this winter season, with winter wear which includes socks and tennis shoes.
“We have donated sanitizers, face masks and taught prisoners how to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at Mulondozi female prison. We will be going to Shurugwi and Chikurubi by the second week of June in a bid to help combat the spread of the Covid-19 in prisons.”
Recently, Zimbabwe Associations of Organizations Working with Prisoners (ZAOWP) noted how overcrowding in prisons made it difficult to enforce social distancing. ZPCS provincial nursing officer, Engelbert Dube said prison facilities were not spared from the devastating effects of Covid-19 and registered 36 cases.
“As of now, the situation in our prisons is stable and we are conducting random tests to make sure that we closely monitor Covid-19 cases. We are restricting large visits and visitors must undergo clearance process first as part of measures to protect inmates,” Dube said.
Voluntary Services Oversee (VSO) programs officer, George Matende said there was the need for stakeholders to lobby and break down the cycle of re-offending among ex-convicts.
We have seen many offenders getting certificates, diplomas, and degrees while they are in prison, but the shortage of jobs remains the problem when released.
“They have qualifications but they still fail to get jobs due to the stigmatization due to their criminal records. Just as we accept them back into society, let’s also accept them and recommend them to get work in various institutions,” said Matende.
Chingwaramusee however said her organization currently offers counseling and support to women after incarceration in a bid to lessen the stigmatization often encountered by former convicts upon release.