Young offenders crying for help

22 Nov, 2021 - 10:11 0 Views
Young offenders crying for help Wilbert Mugandi

H-Metro

Arron Nyamayaro recently in Gweru

CHILDREN serving their sentences for various offences at Young Offenders Prison have been increasing for the past few months, a Correctional Officer has said.

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) under Young Offenders Prison Wilbert Mugandi told H-Metro that cases involving children have been worrying urging parents and men of cloth to closely monitor children’s movements.

 

“The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service has noted with concern an increase in number of children engaging in criminal activities,” said Mugandi.

Young offenders Prison

“We have one prison for young offenders and today we have 159 inmates.

 

“The are classified in four categories namely A, B, C and D classes.

 

“Dangerous criminals are in the D class and today we have 18, C has 57, B with 71 and A class has 12.

 

“A number of them are used by criminals while others have been engaging in cases like unlawful entry, theft and robbery.

 

“It is disturbing to note that we have one inmate aged 13 serving a sentence of stealing from cars.

 

“Another teenager serving a sentence for car theft and robbery.

 

“This is so worrying and we are appealing to parents and communities at large to unite in fighting crime and protect our children from criminal activities.

 

“As Correctional Service we have turned Young Offenders Prison into an academic college where we have Grade 1 up to Upper six.

 

“We have two rehabilitation officers and a number of teachers working hard daily to help these young inmates to reform.

 

“Among the teachers we have eight young inmates helping in teaching primary candidates.

 

“It is our wish to see community, corporates, churches and individuals to join hands with ZPCS in correcting our children.

 

“We need a borehole and a pump for clean water, stationery for our student inmates and tools for our workshop,” he said.

 

Mugandi said most of the inmates come from different parts of the country since it is the only male young offenders’ prison hence the need for support.

 

“We need a vehicle as well as cash for bus fares to give released inmates since some come from as far as Binga, Nyanga and Chipinge.

 

“There is need for food since most inmates do not receive visitors considering distance of where they come from.

 

“We are urging parents and churches to play a big role in addressing children to curb their engagement in criminal activities as well as closely monitor their movements,” he said.

 

Narrating how the children ended up behind bars, one of the inmates aged 13 told H-Metro that he was ordered by his elder friend to get into the complainant’s car and steal cash.

 

“Ndaibira makorokoza mari mudzimotokari dzavo.

 

“I was led to where the complainant was parked and ordered to get inside his vehicle and got away with US$500.

 

“I was given $20 only and got arrested and the friend disappeared with the rest of the money,” he said.

 

He dropped from school when he was in Grade 3 and got lured into stealing from gold planners.

 

Another inmate aged 12 had been under probation officers and committed another offence there and was taken to Young Offenders Prison where he is being counted among dangerous criminals.

 

One of the inmates aged 20 years was arrested for violence with 39 other people older than him.

 

The 39 were all arrested in Gokwe for attacking illegal gold panners in an effort to take their money.

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