Precious Manomano Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has so far trained 600 inmates, including death row inmates, and 150 officers in a peace education programme.
The program offers psychological support, moral regeneration and reduction of violence.
The program aims to train both inmates and staff to strengthen the focus of rehabilitation as the country moves towards achieving the vision of being the leading provider of correctional services in the region and beyond. 2030.
In an interview, ZPCS Deputy Commissioner General Dr. Granisia Musango said the program will help officers and inmates coexist in harmony while empowering them to deal with their inner challenges.
She said most death row inmates lost hope, but the program reformed their lives and helped them live normal lives like other human beings.
The mental resilience initiative will focus on issues such as moral regeneration and violence reduction so that participants understand the possibility of achieving peace by identifying and using innate resources.
“Peace education becomes a wellness program that provides psychosocial support not only to prisoners, but to the community as a whole. The program provides rehabilitative services to incarcerated members of society with the aim of promoting behavioral reform and equipping inmates with survival skills for reintegration into society.
“The issue of forgiveness and reconciliation are the most important aspects of this program, if the detainees are released back into society they will not think of revenge,” Deputy General Musango said.
One of the detainees, Robson Chipirangu, a teacher from Hwedza who was sentenced to 14 years in prison after committing rape, said the program transformed him to such an extent that he forgives his complainant and plans to move on with his life after his incarceration.
“I spent 10 years behind bars and to be honest I carried bitterness for the past 10 years but after ZPCS introduced this program it helped me a lot. I no longer carry no bitterness now. I thought I was taking revenge on those people but now, after receiving lessons in peace, I don’t blame them anymore. I have forgiven them,” he said.
The peace education curriculum has been introduced in the countries of the SADC region in correctional institutions to pave the way for unity and peace.