The Phenomenon of Congenstion in Zambian Prisons and its impact on the Criminal Justice System

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Chandi, Chrisantos Kateule
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The principal objective of this study was to highlight the full extent of the problem of congestion in Zambian prisons and show how this problem has impacted the Zambian criminal justice system. The findings revealed that congestion in Zambian prisons is a reality and quite phenomenon. It was also our finding that the phenomenon of congestion impacted greatly on the Zambian criminal justice system and that they were operating under conditions that fall way below the recommended Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Congestion delayed the delivery of justice as courts found themselves dealing with offenders who opted to deny the charge at the time of taking plea in order to avoid prison conditions. Prisons did achieve the purposed of Incapacitation and Deterrence and Retribution. But when these achievements are measured with individual rights of prisoners, congested prisons only perpetrate conditions which amount to torture or degrading and inhuman treatment. Other findings were that the phenomenon of congestion in Zambian prisons was a factor on increase or prevalence of corruption within Criminal Justice System. Some of the responses to Overcrowding and its impact on the criminal Justice System were made and they include alternative sentencing, adjustments to the law relating to bail requirement, identification and construction of more places of safety, Expansion of existing prisons and construction of new prisons. Others are the need to design an Education system for the ZPS, improvement on recreation facilities. The reviews of parole eligibility qualifications to capture more prisoners and capacity building and improvement of conditions of service for those who operate the criminal justice system have been recommended. It is hoped the study will go a long way in helping to improve justice delivery, protection of human rights for all and protection of society from the effects of crime.
Prisons--Overcrowding--Law and Legislation-Zambia