As coronavirus cases keep rising nationwide, inmates at Nkhata Bay Prison remain at high risk due to the congestion at the facility, authorities have said.
The former president Peter Mutharika’s declaration of a State of National Disaster on March 20 this year due to the pandemic, led to the closure of schools and measures such as decongesting the country’s prisons.
But in an interview on Tuesday, Nkhata Bay Prison spokesperson MacDonald Migolo said the facility did not decongest despite submitting 116 names of inmates to the Presidential Committee on Pardon to release them.
“We were asked to submit names of inmates with misdemeanours or petty crimes such as minor theft and those that had served a good fraction of their sentences, but no one has been released yet,” he said.
Migolo said Nkhata Bay Prison is yet to register a Covid-19 case, but he feared for the eventuality.
According to him, the prison has enough buckets for hand washing though sanitisers are inadequate.
However, Migolo is hopeful that the new administration of Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima will speed up on decongesting the prison.
In April this year, 1 392 inmates walked to freedom from the country’s congested prisons courtesy of an initiative funded by the European Union (EU) to fast-track the review of some prisoners’ cases and decongest the facilities amid Covid-19 pandemic.
World Health Organisation recommends that people should all the time observe social distancing, wash hands with soap regularly and wear face masks.
The prison has a capacity of 80 inmates but it has 176.