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PRISONS & CORRECTIONAL SERVICE BILL H.B. 6, 2022

PRISONS AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICE BILL, 2022

 Explanation MEMoranduM

 This Bill will provide for establishment, functions and administration of the Prisons and Correctional Service; the Prisons and Correctional Service Commission; the establishment of prisons and correctional facilities; the functions, rights, obligations and discipline of prison officers;  the safe custody of all offenders under humane conditions that respect human dignity;  the discipline of offenders;  the obligations and rights of sentenced offenders;  the obligations and rights of unsentenced offenders;  the establishment of a system of parole for offenders;  mechanism to deal with complaints of abuse of offenders;  judicial and civilian oversight of the operations of the Service; the penalties for offences;  the repeal of the Prisons Act and the substitution of an Act entitled the Prisons and Correctional Service Act.

         The main clauses of the Bill are explained below:

Part I

 Clause 1 sets out the short title of the Bill. Clause 2 provides the definition of terms used in the Bill.

Part II

 Clauses 3 to 15 in this part provide for the establishment, functions, appointment and functions of Commissioner-General and administration of the Prisons and Correctional Service.

Part III

 This part, which comprise clauses 16 to 23, provides for the Prisons and Correctional Service Commission (the Commission). Clause 16 provides for the term of office for a member of the Commission, which shall be a period five years renewable only once. Resignation of members is provided in clause 17. Clause 18 provides for the conditions of service for the members. The functions which are provided in the Constitution are reiterated in clause 19.

Part IV

 Part IV comprises of clauses 24 to 32 and it provides for the establishment, administration and control of Prisons and Correctional facilities. Clause 25 envisages situations where temporary prisons and correction facilities can be established. Clauses 26 and 27 provides for the creation of correctional community centres, which may either be permanent or temporary, for the purpose of easing the transition of the inmate from life in incarceration to community life. Clause 28 provides for the establishment of open correctional facilities. Clause 30 provides for the confinement of male and female inmates separately. Clause 31 provides for the appointment of officers-in-charge of prison and correctional facilities and their functions. Clause 32 provides for the inspection of prisons and correctional facilities.

Part V

 Part V comprises of clauses 33 to 42 and it provides for the functions of correctional officers. General responsibilities and functions of correctional officers are provided in clauses 33 and 34. Clauses 35, 36 and 37 provides for things against which correctional officers should not do. Clauses 38, 39, gives correctional officers certain powers in the administration of prisons and correctional facilities. In terms of clause 40 no correctional officer shall, except in the case of sickness or emergency, enter a prison or correctional cell or ward at night unless accompanied by another correctional officer. Clauses 41 and 42 provides for immunity for acts done legally and on reasonable grounds respectively by any the Commissioner-General or any correctional officer.

Part VI

 Part VII provides for the disciplinary procedure that may be pursued against correctional officers for acts of indiscipline perpetrated.

Part VII

 Part VII provides for the custody of inmates. Clause 70 provides for the the admission of inmates into custodial imprisonment. In terms of clause 71 a female inmate with an infant and that with pregnancy can be admitted to prison under certain laid down conditions.

 Clause 72 allows for the maintenance of unconvicted inmates from private sources apart from receiving normal prison food, clothing and bedding.  Clause 73 provides for the disposal of inmates’ personal effects.

 Clause 74 provides that moneys on inmate at the time of being admitted to prison may be appropriated for the payment of fine.

 Clause 75 provides for the commencement, termination and computation of sentence of imprisonment imposed by any court unless the sentence is suspended in terms of any law or the convicted person is released on bail granted in terms of any law.

 Clause 76 provides for the separation, security classification and re-classification of inmates into one or more of the stipulated groups.

 Clause 77 gives the officer-in-charge of a given prison responsibility to ensure lawful custody of an imprisoned inmate.

               Clause 78 requires that inmates in imprisonment be under the care, custody and supervision of correctional officers of the same sex with them.  Clause 79 provides for the custody of inmates committed for remand.

 Clause 80 provides for the custody of juveniles who are awaiting trial or waiting conclusion of trial. A juvenile who is awaiting trial or awaiting the conclusion of his or her trial shall not be detained in a prison or correctional facility, unless, in the opinion of the court, such detention is necessary and no suitable place of detention is available for his or her detention.

 Clause 81 provides for the escort of inmates by police where on the removal of any inmate from any prison or correctional facility, the number of correctional officers is insufficient to provide an escort for such inmate.

 Clause 82 provides that where an inmate is required to attend a court for the purposes of testifying at any of its proceedings the court may issue an order directed to the officer-in-charge of the prison or correctional facility where that inmate is detained requiring him or her to produce the inmate at the time and place specified in the order, and the officer-in-charge shall comply with such order.

 Clause 83 requires that an inmate, before commencement of, and during his or her trial, be afforded adequate facilities in the prison or correctional facility or other place of detention for the preparation and presentation of his or her defence.

 Clause 84 provides for the questioning of an inmate by a member of the police, which may be done in the sight and hearing of a correctional officer. This is done with the approval of the officer-in-charge of a prison or correctional facility and on production of an order in writing from a police officer of or above such rank as may be prescribed.

 Clause 85 provides for the transfer of an inmate from one correctional facility to another.

         Clause 86 provides for the maximum period of extended imprisonment.

 Clause 87 requires that inmates be informed of the provisions of the Act and applicable rules, orders and directives.

 Clause 88 requires the Commissioner-General to provide inmates with the opportunity to contribute to decisions of the Service that affect their welfare.

 Clauses 89 and 90 seek to promote and maintain a relationship between the inmate, family and community and facilitate successful reintegration of the inmate into the society through visitations, receiving of letters, procurement of necessities and other privileges.

Part VIII

         Part VIII provides for the health care service for inmates and hygiene.

Part IX

 Part IX provides for the upholding of a safe environment within the correctional facility by stipulating procedures for the search, seizure, arrest and dealing with prohibited articles.

Part X

 This Part deals with the disciplinary issues relating to inmates within the prison and correctional service. In terms of the Third Schedule there are Part I Correctional Offences and Part II Correctional Offences each of which will be dealt with in the stipulated procedure in terms of this Part.

PART XI

 This Part XI deals with the work and rehabilitation activities for inmates. It distinguishes between work of convicted inmates (clause 124) and work of unconvicted inmates (clause 125), agreements for employment and training of inmates (clause 126) and gratuities for inmates (clause 127).

Part XII

 This Part deals with the execution of the sentence imposed upon an inmate. The Part deals with the maintenance of an admission register (clause 130), the re-arrest of inmates released erroneously (clause 131), imprisonment of default payment of a fine (clause 132), periodic imprisonment (clause 133), confinement and restraint of inmate (clause 134), inmates under sentence of death (clause 135), attendance at execution (clause 137) and commutation of death sentence to sentence of imprisonment (clause 138).

Part XIII

 Part XIII deals with the release of inmates and establishes the State Parole Board whose functions are to recommend to the Minister the release of inmates and authorise the release of inmates (clause 140 refers).

 Clause 142 sets out the principles that guide the State Parole Board in fulfilling its functions.

Part XIV

 This Part provides for visits by visiting Justices, the Minister of Religion and Correctional Board of Visitors.

 Clause 169 provides for appointment of a Correctional Board of Visitors whose role shall be to act as an oversight and advisory committee of citizens to represent the interests of people in prison and correctional facilities and shall meet at least four times a year.

Part XV

 This Part deals with miscellaneous provisions which relate to the need to deliver a list of unconvicted inmates to the High Court every fortnight (clause 170), reporting on long term inmates every four years (clause 171), the granting of an inmate permission to be temporarily absent from prison or correctional facility for personal, family or other reasons (clause 172) and home leave (clause 173). Permission for absence is given under escort while home leave is granted to an inmate unescorted. Clause 174 provides limitations on temporary absence and home leave. These privileges can only be authorised within Zimbabwe. In terms of clause 175 the police may provide assistance to the prisons and correctional service on request by the Commissioner-General of the Prisons and Correctional Service in an emergency situation. Other provisions within this Part relate to rewards for apprehension of escaped inmates (clause 176), rewards or gratuities for correctional officers who, in the course of duty, have suffered bodily injuries, performed special acts of bravery or rendered any other special or meritorious service (clause 177). Clauses 178 and 179 provides for the detention of inmates sentenced abroad and the transfer of inmates to other countries respectively. In terms of clause 180 Service clubs and canteens shall be exempt from paying certain taxes, duties and fees. In clause 181 the Minister is given the power to appoint a committee of inquiry whenever he or she considers it necessary, which committee will report to him or her on any matter relating to either or both the administration of any prison or correctional facility or the conditions of service of correctional officers; or any matter connected therewith. Minister may, in terms of clause 182, give policy directions of a general nature in the public interest.

 Clause 183 is the regulation making section, which allows the Minster to make regulation relation to the Prisons and Correctional Service. Clauses 184, 185 and 186 relate to certain offences that may be committed and notices to be displayed in respect of offences that may be committed in prisons and correctional service facilities and the penalties attaching to such offences.

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