Foreign prisoners overwhelm prisons

Prison commissioner, Dinah Marathe PIC: PRISON SERVICE
Prison commissioner, Dinah Marathe PIC: PRISON SERVICE

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has raised a concern over the rising numbers of foreign prisoners in Botswana prison facilities.

The concern followed Botswana Prison Services (BPS)’s memorandum of progress indicating prison currently has 524 foreign prisoners out of 3 ,882 inmates. PAC member and also  Member of Parliament (MP) for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi was worried about the increasing numbers of foreign prisoners asking if there was a way for them to be sent back to their countries of origin.

“These numbers are high and I suspect that they are the ones who influence our children to do bad things. Is there any communication with their countries so that they can go and serve their punishments back home? You currently have 289 foreign remands, these numbers worry me because these are the same people who top the numbers of escapees,” Moatlhodi said.

Responding to Moatlhodi’s concerns, prison commissioner, Dinah Marathe disclosed to have signed bilateral agreements with other countries especially SADC counties. The department is waiting for laws surrounding the issue to be implemented and that is when they will be able to send foreign prisoners back to their countries of origin and continue with their sentences.

Marathe further explained that prison continues to keep the highest number of remands in their facilities because it takes time for matters to be resolved by the courts. Adding up the numbers, Marethe raised a concern over recidivists who repeatedly commit offences whilst on bail.

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