Friday, April 12, 2013

Kaonga laments sleeping conditions for mothers in Chimbokaila
By Fridah Nkonde
Fri 12 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

SLEEPING conditions at Lusaka Central Prison do not provide incarcerated mothers and their children space that is safe and secure, says Zambia Prisons Service Lusaka province regional commander Chrispin Kaonga.

And Gender and Child Development deputy minister Esther Banda says government and the Zambia Prisons Service will ensure that children whose parents are in prison receive the necessary attention like any other child.

Meanwhile, out of 105 female inmates at Lusaka Central Prison, 10 have circumstantial children of which six were males and four are females.
During the Ministry of Gender and Child Development's donation of assorted items to prisoner mothers and their children at Lusaka Central Prison on Wednesday, Kaonga said babies were delicate and required environments that were clean and conducive.

"But now we can't find that environment in the prison at the moment. We have people with different kinds of ailments in prison and children are supposed to be protected at all times. Lusaka Central Prison is a place where you find female inmates, those that are convicted and those still appearing before the courts of law. We even have the newest baby that was born last week," Kaonga said.

She said the food that was found in prison was that of grown up people, adding that they had challenges when it came to feeding of the babies because they did not have provisions of milk and porridge for the children.

"Your coming here minister would provide a way of finding a solution to this problem. The space that we have is not adequate. We would want to have a nursery in prison where babies can be kept during the day but due to competing needs we have failed to have one. We would want these children born from prisoners to become meaningful and responsible citizens of this country because they are prisoner not by design but because their parents are prisoners," he said.

And Banda said her ministry had embarked on a programme targeting children living with their incarcerated parents.

"This programme will among other things focus on gathering of information on children living with their incarcerated parents for us to come up with appropriate intervention measures, creating of linkages with other stakeholders in order to provide alternative care for children whose parents are in prison and mobilisation of necessary resources to support children whose parents are in prison," she said.

She said her ministry would also ensure that women prisoners benefit from the women economic empowerment programmes upon being released so that they could lead better and productive lives.

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