Karonga District does not have a purpose-built prison roughly nine years after an earthquake destroyed the inmates’ structure.
The delays to replace Karonga Prison—whose construction was supposed to start in 2012, but nothing has been done so far—has forced prison authorities in the district to keep 30 inmates only while sending others to Chitipa, Rumphi and Mzimba prisons, according to an official.
Even the 30 they are able to keep at a given time—largely comprising those with minor offences—are housed in an unfinished office block for Karonga Prison Service.
In an interview yesterday, Malawi Prison Services spokesperson Chimwemwe Shaba said there was a U-turn on the Ipyana project, but plans are underway to construct a new prison in the district.
“We have made necessary arrangements to construct the building. Everything being equal, next financial year construction works will begin,” he said.
Paralegal Advisory Services Institute national director Clifford Msiska said as people working in criminal justice system, they are equally concerned with the delay to replace the damaged prison, saying it is affecting justice delivery.
“As it is, those who have pleaded not guilty are still being kept in police cells while those sent to other prisons cannot be brought easily for trial, thereby affecting their right to access justice,” he said.
Msiska has since asked relevant authorities to quickly build another prison in the district.