The family week which was introduced by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to allow inmates to have more time with visitors and their families has transformed the prisoners in a “very big and positive way,” ZPCS spokesperson for Midlands/Masvingo region Jere Ruzive said.
This year’s family week ran from August 14 to 20. The period saw prison inmates being allowed to have more visitors for longer periods that were dependant on discretions of officers-in charge of the prison centres.
Visitors were allowed to visit their beloved ones from 8am to 4pm during the week.
In an interview, Ruzive said the family week went a long way in changing attitudes of prisoners who had mastered in their minds the notion that better days in society were all over for them due to incarceration.
“We had prisoners who were always tense and hopeless about their future. It was so because some believed that they had wronged people in society to an extent where they would simply be rejected even after serving their prison terms,” he said.
Ruzive added that after having been visited by the people they wronged and spent more time talking to them and exchanging notes, those prisoners had found peace in themselves.
“There are also several other organisations like faith-based sects that visited our prisons and spent time interacting with the prisoners.
“That again went a long way in positively rehabilitating the prisoners. A prisoner you talked to in January and saw hopelessness in them, now shows a lot of hope and readiness to get re-admitted into society due to the family week’s events,” Ruzive said.
ZPCS introduced the family week last year. It is meant to improve the rehabilitation of offenders while facilitating their re-integration into society through enhanced interaction with various stakeholders such as churches and other interested parties.
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