President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pardoned 3 000 prison inmates as a way of decongesting the country’s overpopulated prisons.
Some of those that will benefit from this amnesty include female prisoners, juveniles and prisoners currently serving life imprisonment.
The presidential pardon is contained in the General Amnesty 2018: Clemency Order No.1 of 2018.
“A full remission of the remaining period of imprisonment is hereby granted to all female prisoners, regardless of the offence committed, save for those sentenced to life imprisonment and to death,” read a press statement from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS).
Juvenile prisoners “under the age of eighteen years serving terms of imprisonment, irrespective of the offences they committed” were also pardoned.
President Mnangagwa also pardoned all prisoners serving sentences of less than 36 months.
Prisoners who were sentenced to more than 36 months in prison will benefit from “an additional one-quarter remission of the remaining effective period of imprisonment” and must have “served at least one-third of the effective term of imprisonment”.
Among those also pardoned include inmates living with a disability, terminally ill prisoners, prisoners above 60 years and those convicted for stock theft.
Prisoners on death row for more than 10 years had their sentences changed to life imprisonment.
“As ZCPS, we applaud the move taken by His Excellency in exercising his prerogative of mercy to some prisoners behind bars,” the service said.
“The exercise has not only gone a long way in decongesting our prisons but has served as a reminder to inmates and society that the purpose of imprisonment is founded on the pretext of reformation that retribution”.
Those not covered under the presidential pardon include repeat offenders, prisoners who previously benefitted from amnesty, prisoners serving a sentence imposed by a Court Martial, prisoners on the run, rapists, murderers and armed robbers.