Inmates locked up in the country’s various prisons have been able to contact their families using cellphones as prison visits are still prohibited due to COVID-19, The Sunday News reports.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic that brought the world to a standstill, families have been prohibited from visiting prisoners as part of COVID-19 containment measures.
However, ZPCS decided to mark this year’s Family Week by introducing a system where inmates can contact their loved ones using a cell phone.
This was revealed by Gwanda Prison Chief Correctional Officer, Chief Inspector Melody Dube who said the 2020 Family week was different as inmates had to speak to their loved ones instead of meeting them due to COVID-19:
The Family Week is an opportunity where inmates and their families and friends interact in a bid to strengthen their relations. It also helps the inmates to remain in touch with the outside world and for families to know what is going on with their relatives who are inmates.
With this pandemic the whole prison system was forced to close doors to visitors in order to curb the spread of the pandemic. We have devised a way for inmates to interact with their relatives using a cell phone, relatives can also send money to this cell phone so we can buy desired food for inmates.
During normal visits we limit the number of visitors but during the normal Family Week there is no restriction. Children are also allowed and we normally invite local drama and music groups to entertain people. The Family Week is characterised by relaxed visiting hours hours where family and friends can come and be with their loved ones. Physical contact is allowed and sharing of food.
The family week is usually held in September of each year, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s family week had to be canceled.
More: The Sunday News