Speaking at a press briefing, Dr Rachel Seleka revealed that so far 133 inmates have undergone circumcision at their clinics."So far we have at least 133 inmates from Gaborone, Moshupa and Molepolole prisons circumcised since April last year but we have not taken our initiative to the northern part of the country," she said.
Government introduced the SMC programme a few years ago, and there have been calls for the initiative to be extended to other vulnerable groups outside mainstream society. Seleka said they have discovered that inmates take health related issues more seriously when they are incarcerated.
Admitting that sodomy is a sensitive issue Prisons chief, Motlalekgosi acknowledged that there is sodomy in Botswana prisons."We know that sodomy is illegal in Botswana but it happens in our prisons, how we don't know.If it can happen in mainstream society, what about in places like prisons? I don't have evidence to say it's not happening but we have heard stories narrated by ex-inmates," he said. The Prisons boss observed that prison officers are not merely guards but treatment providers as well. "At any moment an officer is close to a prison inmate," said Motlalekgosi.
He also decried overcrowding in prisons. Currently there are 3,048 local male convicts and 435 foreign male inmates, 60 female citizen convicts and 14 female foreign convicts. There are 634 remanded local males, 303 foreign males, 15 local females and 11 foreign females. Motlalekgosi said these figures represent 15.2 percent overcrowding.
Answering a question from a reporter who sought to know the efficacy of current rehabilitation mechanisms, Motlalekgosi admitted that there is a need to come up with modern ways of rehabilitating inmates. "Most of the people who commit offences after being granted parole and then re-integrated into society are those initially charged with stock theft. We intend to have rehabilitation programmes tailored for specific individuals. There is also a need to monitor them after they have been released to see if they are responding well to rehabilitation," he said.
On other issues, Motlalekgosi revealed that they have banned smoking in all their prison facilities to curb drug smuggling in prisons. "Our decision to ban smoking and cigarettes in our facilities was informed by a number of factors. In some cases, marijuana is smuggled into prisons in the form of cigarettes," he said.