Prisons still overcrowded despite counter measures’

07Apr 2021
Getrude Mbago
Dodoma
The Guardian
Prisons still overcrowded despite counter measures’

TANZANIAN prison facilities are still overcrowded by thousands despite various measures by the government to reduce the numbers, the House heard yesterday.

Deputy Minister Home Affairs Khamis Chilo told the National Assembly here that until March 30 this year, there were a total of 33,473 inmates in the country’s jails out of which some 16,735 were prisoners and 16,738 remandees while the country’s prisons accommodation capacity is 29,902.

This translates into excess population of 3,671 prisoners and remandees.

This is despite various measures to reduce congestion in the country’s cells and prisons including constructing more prisons as well as involving criminal justice agencies to fast-track listening of trials and cases.

Chilo said other measures are, review of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, encourage the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Judiciary, Police and Prisons especially video conference.

The Deputy Minister was responding to a question from Konde MP Khatibu Said Haji (ACT- Wazalendo) who wanted to know measures being taken by the government to ease congestion in the county’s prisons.

Chilo said that the government is aware of overcrowding in prisons and cells and it has been taking various measures to address the problem.

Chilo noted that that review of some sections of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 has helped a lot to ease congestion in cells and prisons . He mentioned some sections which have been reviewed as 170, 163 and 225 noting that the review of these areas has helped a lot to reduce overcrowding in our prisons.

The deputy minister added that the government has also expanded and constructed new prisons in areas which lacked the service such as Ruangwa and Chato as well as imposing soft bail conditions .

He further said that the establishment of mobile court has helped a lot in delivering ruling on minor offences without talking the criminals in police cells or prisons.

Special Seats MP Sophia Mwakagenda (Chadema) advised the government that, instead of building news prisons or cells, it should empower the office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) so that they can speed up the investigation process.

Responding, the deputy minister said that, there are special organs entrusted with the responsibility of conduction investigations such as Police as well as the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).

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