As a way of making sure that ex-prisoners are accepted in the society, prison fellowship Malawi has embarked on sensitization meetings in areas within Balaka district.
Speaking Tuesday during one of the sensitization meetings which was held in the area of Traditional Authority Chanthunya, Executive Director of Prison Fellowship Malawi Half Way house, Rodrick Zalimba urged the community to adopt and accept ex-prisoners as this helps them in the continuation of their Reformation.
Said Zalimba: The main reason for the sensitization meetings is to bring awareness to the communities on the dangers of engaging in criminal activities.
“We would like also to engage the communities to be tolerant to people who have been released from prison by engaging in discussions with the communities also to bring out issues that affect people who have been released from prison on their journey back to their various homes.”
According to Zalimba, stigma and discrimination are the most rampant problems that these ex-prisoners meet as they reintegrate back to their homes.
“People build fences between themselves and the people who have been released from prison which in many cases leads to the ex-prisoners committing another crime which gets them back to prison.
Economic empowerment is also another problem that ex-prisoners face, they are denied access to loans thinking they have not transformed which leaves them vulnerable always,” he said.
Zalimba has however, called upon government and various stakeholders to always work with the Half-Way House located in Balaka as the demand to admit more ex-prisoners is high.
“Currently we only admit 60 ex-prisoners and it is our dream that we have Half Way Houses in all regions so that more ex- prisoners benefit from us,” he said.
Concurring with Zalimba, Station Officer for Balaka Police, Nichorus Gondwa said such meetings were important as they will help people accept ex-prisoners which in the end will help prevent the ex- prisoners from engaging again in criminal acts.
Our cells are always full with suspects who commit crimes now and again, which in turn exerts the same pressure in our various prisons,” he said.
The Half-Way House partnered with the Malawi Prison Service by engaging ex-prisoners in drilling them both spiritually and mentally.
They provide them with various skills such as carpentry, electrical installation, plumbing, just to mention a few as a way of preparing them on their journey back home.
Source: MANA Online