By MARGARET MANGANI –
A CONSORTIUM of four Civil Society Organisations (CSO) on the Copperbelt have called for review of the Prisons Act.
The organisations that convened at Ndola’s Zanji Lodge to look at the Prisons Act and some parts which they felt should be reviewed to accommodate the interests of female in-mates and their circumstantial children, resolved that the amendments should be included in the current Constitution.
The four organisations comprise, Age Justice International, Afri Governance, Restoration of Orphans and Street Children and Nkhosa Transformation Development Trust.
In 2014 Government said it was in the process of reviewing the Prison’s Act to ensure it meets international standards.
Then Home Affairs Minister, Ngosa Simbyakula said the review would call for the implementation of some provisions such as section 56 which states that a mother should go to prison with a child who would be provided for by the State.
This was in response to calls by CSOs to Government to amend section 56 of the Prisons Act that provides that a child of a female prisoner should go in jail with the mother but without being provided for by the State.
Government stated that the circumstantial children were catered for in the current law which was not implemented due to budgetary constraints.
However, the consortium felt that the needs of the female prisoners alongside their circumstantial children were not adequately catered for.
Hence the CSOs were now lobbying Government to review such clauses for purposes of promoting gender equality in the dispensation of justice.