‘Our prisons are no  living hell’

‘Our prisons are no living hell’

MASERU – LESOTHO Correctional Service (LCS) Commissioner Thabang Mothepu says the institution is bound by international protocols that govern the treatment of prisoners.
Mothepu was speaking during an exclusive interview with thepost a week after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane threatened to make conditions in prisons tougher.
Thabane told villagers in Tsoelikoe in Qacha’s Nek that as long as he remains Prime Minister “there will be no peace for prisoners”. However, Mothepu said he was not responding to the Prime Minister’s threats.

He vowed to make prisons so brutal that they are unbearable for prisoners.
While not directly challenging his boss, Mothepu said the LCS is duty bound to respect international protocols that govern the treatment of prisoners.
He said they are working tirelessly to ensure the institution aligns itself with the United Nations’ Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
The rules cover issues related to minimum standards of accommodation, personal hygiene, clothing and bedding, food, exercise, medical services, discipline and punishment, complaints, the availability of books, the quality and training of prison personnel and prison inspections, among others.

Mothepu also said they observe the Bangkok Standards for the Treatment of Women Prisoners.
The rules provide guidance to policy makers, legislators and sentencing authorities and prison staff to reduce the imprisonment of women and meet specific needs of women when imprisoned.
He said these are the key legal frameworks at international level.

The focus, Mothepu said, is on four areas in the institution which include the stability of inmates, programmes which help in rehabilitation of inmates, services and the resources and lastly the relationship between the LCS and the public.
Mothepu said Lesotho, like any other country in the Sub-Saharan region, has been seriously affected by the economic recession. He said the LCS is also feeling the pinch of the recession.
However, the LCS management has devised policies to help the institution deal with the economic challenges.

He said they now have fully functional health sections in prisons across the country which has greatly improved the health of inmates.
“These health sections offer health services equal to those given in other centres in the country,” Mothepu said.
In cases where there is shortage of services or resources, the LCS transfers the inmates so that they can be helped. He said the LCS ensures that HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other ailments are treated accordingly.

Mothepu said they have also made it mandatory for inmates to consume a balanced diet as recommended and approved by the nutritionists or Ministries of Agriculture and Health.
He maintained that the LCS is still able to feed its inmates despite the food insecurity hitting the country.
To respond to the prevailing food shortages, Mothepu said they have started poultry farming so that there is meat for the inmates.

Mothepu said it was also their dream to engage in crop farming.
“The LCS opened doors for the (SADC) oversight committee to check how things are. And they all gave a satisfactory response with regards to the treatment of inmates,” he said.

Tokase Mphutlane

Previous The gate that ‘knows’ students by name
Next King’s private secretary charged

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thepostc/public_html/wp-content/themes/trendyblog-theme/includes/single/post-tags-categories.php on line 7

About author

You might also like

News

‘We’ve averted a crisis’

A few months ago, the National University of Lesotho (NUL)’s Senate warned that the university might have to shut down because of financial problems. The Senate said the government’s grant

News

Why detained soldiers want financial help

MASERU – TWENTY-SEVEN soldiers facing trial for murder, attempted murder and mutiny want the state to help pay their legal fees because the cost of their legal fees has ballooned beyond

Local News

Thabane blasts party ‘rebels’

MASERU – ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane says party officials publicly campaigning against him will now be regarded as having joined opposition ranks, as the Prime Minister battles