Mzuzu Prison says it is failing to utilise its two newly constructed cell blocks due to lack of a perimeter fence to enhance security.
The prison constructed the cell blocks to reduce congestion at the institution currently accommodating 510 inmates against its capacity of 200.
Mzuzu Prison officer-in-charge Prince Wasili said the cells are idle due to lack of a fence for security.
He said: “One cell block is complete and the other is nearing completion. But both of them cannot be operational until we find funds to erect a fence.”
The two cell blocks will increase the prison’s capacity to 500.
“As it is, we still have a challenge of space because the prison is very small such that most prisoners sleep in a sitting position.
“This has a negative effect on their health as most of them suffer muscle-related illnesses,” Wasili said.
He explained that the inmates are also at risk of contracting sanitation-related diseases as their toilets have poor sanitation.
Mzuzu Lions Club has since assisted the prison with building materials worth K300 000 to support the construction of the fence.
Mzuzu Lions Club president Victor Gondwe also pledged to provide the prison with spraying chemicals to improve sanitation at the toilets.
“In December last year, when we came to donate food items, we were shocked with the state of congestion at the prison.
“As a charity organisation, we decided to support their efforts so that prisoners’ right to a clean and spacious environment is upheld,” said Gondwe.