Govt should review why some prisoners go back to jail

Govt should review why some prisoners go back to jail

On Tuesday, the ‘Daily News’ among other media houses in the country, ran the story of the Minister for Home Affairs George Simbachawene meeting journalists to reveal the Head of State, Samia Suluhu Hassan this year pardoning 5,704 prisoners during the commemorations of Tanzania’s 60 years of independence anniversary.

Great! Going by several researchers' various theories examining biological, social and environmental factors that influence or drive individuals to commit crime, you will realize that no one is born naturally a criminal, implying that crime can be corrected.

With this school of thought, the government (especially the Prison Department and the Judiciary), as well as other stakeholders and the society in general should review to fully reform criminals, especially those who come out of jail and still find themselves going back for the same or different crimes.

It has been historical in the country as well as other States that during the national holidays, the government(s) has been pardoning or showing mercy to some people in jail and hence, released so that they come back and reunite with their families in building the economy. This kind of extending an olive branch to those in prison is done so that others should also take it as a lesson and learn that society does not ostracize its members, but present them with another platform to repent and reform from their crimes.

Based on the lesson above, it has been worrying to find some prisoners pardoned and released from jail, instead of thinking of how to fully become members of the society, only resort to crime. In prisons, prisoners are taught different things including carpentry so that after serving the jail term, one is expected to find a means of eking out a decent living, and that is why it is called a correction facility.

For instance, according to the Article 25 (1) (a) of the 1977 Constitution of Tanzania and the Zanzibar Constitution of 1984 Article 22(1) (a) everyone has the right to participate in legal means of production. Likewise, Article 26 (1) and Article 23 (1) of the two Constitutions grant obligation for every citizen to abide by the laws of the country.

This in a way appeals to all the prisoners who were granted their freedom to abide and adhere to the laws of the land in building Tanzania that belongs to all of us. As reuniting the prisoners back into society continues, the same society should be educated on creating a good environment without discrimination that might cause stigma and act as a catalyst for them to return to their crimes.

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Author: Editor

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