Mzuzu, Judiciary support staff sit-in has increased number of suspects held on remand at Mzuzu Prison to 112 as of Monday thereby worsening the already congested cells, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.
The increase is despite court camps being held at both Mzuzu Police Station and the prison as directed by the Chief Justice recently following the sit-in that started over two weeks ago.
In an interview with Mana in Mzuzu Monday, Mzuzu Prison Public Relations Officer (PRO), Macbeth Wasambo said the strike has negatively affected their operations as the prison is destined to accommodate more prisoners than expected.
However, the court camps have been beneficial as those with minor cases have been handed court bail. But the camps cannot be a full remedy to issues of congestion as people who were expecting the courts to hear their cases have been rendered destitute as the courts have to set new dates, he said.
The PRO pointed out that, There are people who were already on remand and were expected to enter court within the days the judicial support staff started their strike. These plus new entrants on remand have made the situation worse.
More people are coming in than those being released by the court, Wasambo explained.
Mzuzu Police Station Deputy Public Relations Officer, Cecilia Mfune confirmed that court camps were also being held at the station and that some were being given bail or acquitted thereby easing congestion.
Mzuzu Prison is supposed to accommodate around 600 inmates but so far it is has 537 convicts and 112 people on remand.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA