Mbabane: His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) has reported that the prisons’ only formal school, the Vulamasango Industrial School is overcrowded.
Learners at the school are equipped with essential life-skills so that they develop desirable attitude and behavior towards the environment and society. The school also serves as a program of education, formal and non-formal under the extension service.
The Service’s Public Relations Officer, Gugulethu Dlamini, stated that the overcrowding in the school is one challenge that they are facing as an organization but they are trying all they can to ensure the adherence to the Covid-19 regulations like social distancing, washing and sanitizing hands on the part of not only the inmates but the officers.
Dlamini said overcrowding in the prisons can be expected since convicts keep flowing in, with all the new comers going through the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days. She said inmates that show symptoms of the virus are tested. She did not delve much on the outcome of the results, saying it was a confidential matter.
On the other hand, Dlamini mentioned that teachers at the school are exempt from donning the prisons’ uniform lest they interfered with the smooth flow of educating the inmates. Said the PRO; “Despite being convicts, we do not want the inmates at the school to feel like inmates and hence the resolution to excuse the teachers from wearing the uniform, who are also employed by the service as officers.”
She said the inmates are treated like normal school children and not treated as inmates, and even they do not wear the inmates’ prisons’ garb.
The Prisons’ spokesperson said working together with the Criminal Justice System in 2018 they scrapped off the scholars’ finger prints, all to assist them to pursue further education at higher learning institutions. They have made progress in getting the learners to further their education at tertiary institutions like the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) and William Pitcher Teachers’ Training College, said the spokesperson. Some have gone to the Vocational Training Institution Management (VOCTIM). Dlamini said the scrapping off of the finger prints was an undertaking to allow inmates with previous convictions to be employed or further their education, adding that the move was not an option but a necessity if the inmates’ education would not be in vain.