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CHREAA supports conjugal rights for prisoners.

Written by  Sam Phiri

The proposed reform towards the prisons act continues to attract comments with a number of organisations calling the process long overdue.

Mhango(R) with a prison official visiting inmates. Mhango(R) with a prison official visiting inmates.

The current Prisons act was enacted on 23 April 1956 and among others does not recognise the right of conjugal rights to prisoners a thing which has been heavily recommended in the current reforms being championed by the special law commission.

Executive Director for Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) Victor Mhango supported the reforms saying they will turn Malawi prisons from a persecution to a reformatory centre.

“We have been involved in the process and our recommendations have been many including access to conjugal rights to well behaved prisoners,` said Mhango.

CREAA has placed paralegals in all prisons across the country to give inmates their right to justice.

He said allowing conjugal rights to prisoners would among others help to preserve marriages, reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence and homosexuality cases in prisons.

`The main aim of prisons is to reform people but people can never be reformed if people are living in difficult situations hence the need to make prisons conditions better,` added Mhango.

He added that their aspiration is to see prison infrastructure improved for better throughout the country.

Last week, the special law commission presented some of the findings in the ongoing consultative meetings where the commission is soliciting views from the general public on how prisons in the country can be improved.

Some of the things the findings have found out include continued underfunding of the service, poor nutrition of prisoners, overcrowding of cells as and children who are in prison not for their crimes but their mothers and a privilege to conjugal rights when saving sentences.

The issue of conjugal right has proved to be successful when it was first introduced in Mississippi then to other states of California and New York in the USA.

Malawi has over 13,000 prisoners in the country`s 31 prisons.

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