The Malawi Prisons Service (MPS) says it will require at least K30 billion to comply with the 2009 Constitutional Court ruling that ordered the immediate improvement of conditions in prisons to ensure rights of inmates are respected.
In an interview on Tuesday, Commissioner of Prisons Kennedy Nkhoma said although some strides have been made to comply with the court order, there is still more work to be done.
“However, we need additional prisons so that wherever there is no prison there should be one. Unfortunately, to build a single prison we need not less than K5 billion,” he said.
Nkhoma said at the moment the country has 32 prisons, but there were some districts that had none.
He said the districts include Likoma, Salima, Mchinji, Phalombe, Chiradzulu and Balaka.
According to Nkhoma, currently, there is a population of almost 13 000 inmates which is far above what the prisons could hold.
“This means we need at least six big and improved prisons that will include various facilities such as schools, libraries, sports and other recreation facilities,” he said.
In a separate interview, Secretary to the Treasury Radson Mwadiwa said with proper planning government can afford to fund such a programme of constructing new prisons across the country.
Among several areas, the Constitutional Court ruled that government should work to reduce overcrowding in the prisons, improve ventilation and provide reading materials.
The court made the ruling on November 9, 2009 after Gable Masangano dragged the Attorney General, Minister of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Prisons to force government to deal with the issue of the conditions in prisons.