By Tonderai Saharo
MASVINGO: The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) here have suspended the use of prisoners as external hired labour after two inmates last week escaped from lawful custody while carrying out menial work outside prison.
The ZPCS occasionally hires out inmates as cheap labour to companies and individuals in farming and construction sectors as a way of raising extra revenue for its operations and to help incarcerated convicts acquire technical skills.
However, according the ZPCS Masvingo provincial spokesperson Assistant Principal Correctional Officer, Stanslous Sanike, two serving inmates last week escaped on separate occasions while performing duties outside the prison, forcing it to ban the operations.
One of the prisoners was serving time at Mutimurefu Prison and the other at Masvingo Prison.The Masvingo inmate has since been recaptured while the other from Mutimurefu is still on the run.
“Two inmates escaped from lawful custody. The one who escaped from Masvingo Prison was recaptured within two hours of his escape while the one who escaped from Mutimurefu is still at large,” Sanike said.
He identified the recaptured escapee as Tinotenda Maturure who was serving time for theft while Regis Simiyawo, who is still at large, escaped while serving prison term for rape.
“We are yet to get the full details around the circumstances leading to their escape, but all escaped while on prison business outside the premises.
“Our job as an organisation is to prevent escapes and in this case we would have failed. We have instituted a board of enquiry to look into the matter and investigations are still going on,” Sanike said adding the ZPCS in Masvingo was no longer allowing prisoners to be contracted for outside work.