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Chapter 7:11

Prisons Act

Acts 9/1955 (Federal), 8/1957 (Federal), 42/1959 (Federal), 24/1962 (Federal), 225/1964 (s. 54), 27/1966,

29/1970 (s. 14), 38/1973, 23/1976 (s. 95), 35/1976 (s. 34), 38/1977, 32/1979 (s. 2), 29/1981 (s. 59), 3/1983 (s. 5),

13/1983 (s. 20), 18/1989 (s. 4), 14/1990, 11/1991 (s. 7), 1/1995, 8/1997 (s.22), 6/2000 (s. 151), 22/2001 (s. 4),

14/2002(s. 9); 23/2004 (s. 282). F.G.N. 125/1963; R.G.N.s 693/1963, 386/1964, 275/1966, 403/1968, 217/1970, 547/1971, 200/1973, 1307/1973.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

PRELIMINARY Section

  1. Short title.

PART II

ESTABLISHMENT OF PRISONS

  1. Establishment of prisons.
  2. Temporary prisons.

PART III

PRISON SERVICE AND APPOINTMENT OFPRISON OFFICERS

  1. Composition and ranks of Prison Service.
  2. Appointment of Commissioner of Prisons.
  3. Terms and conditions of service of Commissioner.
  4. Removal from office of Commissioner.
  5. Appointment and removal of prison officers.
  6. Liberty to resign.
  7. Appointment of committee of inquiry.

PART IV

PRISONSERVICE COMMISSION

  1. Term of office of members of Prison Service Commission.
  2. Resignation of members of Prison Service Commission.
  3. Conditions of service of members of Prison Service Commission.
  4. Functions of Prison Service Commission.
  5. Procedure of Prison Service Commission.
  6. Staff of Prison Service Commission.
  7. Reports of Prison Service Commission.
  8. Validity of acts and decisions of Prison Service Commission.

PART V

POWERS ANDDUTIESOF PRISONOFFICERS

  1. Control of prisons and of Service vested in Commissioner.
  2. Standing orders.
  3. Delegation of functions of Commissioner.
  4. Policy directions by Minister.
  5. Appointment of officers in charge of prisons.
  6. Officer in charge of prison to supervise and control prison.
  7. Powers and duties of prison officers.
  8. Prison officers always liable for duty.
  9. Prison officers and prohibited activities.
  10. Punishment by subordinate officers.
  11. Use of weapons by prison officers.
  12. Prison officers’ power of arrest.
  13. Prison officers’ visits to cells.
  14. Power to take photographs and finger-prints of prisoners.
  15. Immunity for act done under authority of warrant.
  16. Proof of signature not required.

PART VI

APPOINTMENT ANDDUTIESOF MEDICAL OFFICERS

  1. Medical officers.
  2. Duties of medical officers.
  3. Medical inspection.
  4. Observation of prisoners charged with capital offence.
  5. Examination of prisoners in solitary confinement or in hospital.
  6. Officer in charge empowered to order prisoner to be examined.
  7. Death of prisoner.
  8. Notification of death of prisoner.

PART VII

OFFICIAL VISITORS, VISITING JUSTICES, MINISTERS OFRELIGION AND PRISONERS AID SOCIETIES

  1. Vice-President, Judges, Ministers and Deputy Ministers may visit prisons.
  2. Magistrates to be visiting justices in own areas.
  3. Powers of visiting justices.
  4. Visiting justice to record visit in prescribed book.
  5. Appointment of official visitors.
  6. Functions of official visitors.
  7. Official visitors to record visit in prescribed book.
  8. Ministers of religion may visit prison.
  9. Visits of probation officers and representatives of prisoners’ aid society.

PART VIII

DESERTION AND MUTINY

  1. Deserter may be apprehended by prison officer or police officer.
  2. Penalty for inciting prison officer to desert.
  3. Penalty for mutiny or sedition.

PART IX

ADMISSION AND CONFINEMENTOFPRISONERS

  1. Admission of prisoners.
  2. Admission of infant child with female prisoner.
  3. Particulars of prisoners to be recorded.
  4. Search of prisoners.
  5. Money and other effects of prisoners to be kept in custody of officer in charge.
  6. Moneys on prisoner may be appropriated to payment of fine.

PART X

SEGREGATION AND CLASSIFICATION OF PRISONERS 63. Separation of prisoners.

PART XI

CUSTODY ANDREMOVAL OF PRISONERS

  1. Prisoners in lawful custody of officer in charge.
  2. Commencement, termination and computation of sentence.
  3. Production of prisoners in court.
  4. Prisonersunder police escort.
  5. Statements to police officers.
  6. Prisoners and criminal investigations.
  7. Removal of prisoners from one prison to another.
  8. Certain prisoners may be restrained.
  9. Maximum period of extended imprisonment.
  10. Mentally disordered or defective prisoners.
  11. Removal of sick prisoners to hospital.
  12. Serving sentence while in hospital.

PART XII

LABOUR OF PRISONERS

  1. Employment of convicted prisoners.
  2. Employment of unconvicted prisoners.

PART XIII

MAINTENANCE

  1. Maintenance of unconvicted prisoners from private sources.
  2. Food, etc., not to be transferred to other prisoners.
  3. Food, clothing and bedding for unconvicted prisoners.

PART XIV

PROHIBITEDARTICLES ANDAREAS

  1. Power to search.
  2. Penalty for introduction or removal of prohibited articles and for unauthorized communication.
  3. Powers of arrest.
  4. Unauthorized communications.
  5. Offences in respect of prisons and prisoners.
  6. Removal of certain offenders.
  7. Unlawful possession of articles supplied to prison officers.
  8. Offences in connection with uniforms and decorations.
  9. Notice to be displayed stating offences in respect of prisons and prisoners.

PART XV

DISCIPLINE OFPRISONERS

  1. Prison offences.
  2. Trial of Part I prison offences.
  3. Trial of Part II prison offences.
  4. Punishment for prison offences.
  5. Special provisions relating to prisoner undergoing sentence of periodical imprisonment.
  6. Trials by visiting justices.
  7. Trials by prison officers.
  8. Prosecution for offences under other laws.
  9. Review of cases heard by Commissioner, commissioned officer or officer in charge.

PART XVI

ESCAPES

  1. [Repealed].
  2. [Repealed].

PART XVII

CORPORALPUNISHMENT

  1. Interpretation in Part XVII.
  2. Corporal punishment: confirmation.
  3. Medical officer and officer in charge to be present while corporal punishment is being inflicted.
  4. Sentence of corporal punishment may be stayed.
  5. Corporal punishment not to be inflicted by instalments.

PART XVIII

PRISONERS UNDER SENTENCE OF DEATH

  1. Confinement of condemned prisoner.
  2. Person who may have access to condemned prisoner.
  3. Attendance at execution by officials.

PART XIX

REMISSIONOFSENTENCE

  1. Remission on special grounds.

PART XX

RELEASE OF PRISONERS ON LICENCE OR ORDER

  1. Interpretation in Part XX.
  2. Prisoners Release Advisory Board.
  3. Parole Board.
  4. Reports by Parole Board on prisoners undergoing extended imprisonment.
  5. Release of prisoners by Minister.
  6. Release of prisoners by Commissioner.
  7. Conditions of release.
  8. Arrest and detention of persons released on licence or order.
  9. Serving sentence while on release.
  10. Transitional provisions.

PART XXI

REPORT ON LONG-TERM PRISONERS 121. Report on long-term prisoners.

PART XXII

DISCHARGE OFPRISONERS

  1. Officer in charge to be responsible for discharge of prisoners. 123. Travelling expenses of prisoner on discharge. PART XXIII

GENERAL

  1. List of unconvicted prisoners to be delivered to High Court.
  2. Rewards for apprehension of escaped prisoners.
  3. Commutation of death sentence to sentence of imprisonment.
  4. Compensation for injury or loss caused by person performing community service.
  5. Removal of prisoners outside Zimbabwe.
  6. Minister may grant permission to be absent from prison.
  7. Power to make regulations. SCHEDULE: Prison Offences.

AN ACT to provide for the establishment of prisons within Zimbabwe, for a prison service, for the management and control of prisons and prisoners lodged therein, and for matters incidental thereto.

[Date of commencement: 23rd April, 1956.]

WHEREAS, in relation to the Prison Service, sections 73 (2) and (3) and 75 of the Constitution provide that—

WHEREAS Chapter XA of the Constitution provides as follows—

  1. (1) There shall be a Prison Service for the administration of prisons in Zimbabwe and for the protection of society from criminal through the incarceration and rehabilitation of offenders and their re-integration into society.
  • Subject to the provisions of an Act of Parliament, the Prison Service shall be under the command of the Commissioner of Prisons, who shall be appointed by the President after consultation with such person or authority as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament.
  • An Act of Parliament shall make provision for the organization, administration and discipline of the Prison Service, including the appointment of persons to offices or ranks in the Prison Service, their removal from office or reduction in rank, their punishment for breaches of discipline and the fixing of their conditions of service.
  1. (1) There shall be a Prison Service Commission which shall consist of—
  • a chairman who, subject to the provisions of section 74 (3), shall be the chairman of the Public Service Commission; and
  • not less than two and not more than seven other members appointed, subject to the provisions of subsection (2), by the President.

(2) The persons to be appointed under subsection (1) (b) shall be chosen for their ability and experience in administration or their professional qualifications or their suitability otherwise for appointment as members, and at least one such member shall be a person who has held the rank of Superintendent or any more senior rank in the Prison Service for periods which in the aggregate amount to at least five years.

100A. The functions of the Prison Service Commission shall be to tender such advice and do such other things in relation to the Prison Service as are provided for by this Constitution or by or under an Act of Parliament.

AND WHEREAS it is desirable to make further provision for the Prison Service and the Prison Service

Commission;

NOW, THEREFORE, be it enacted as follows:—

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1    Short title

This Act may be cited as the Prisons Act [Chapter 7:11].

                       2    Interpretation

In this Act—

“commissioned officer” means a prison officer of one of the ranks referred to in subsection (2) of section

five;

“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Prisons appointed in terms of subsection (2) of section 99 of the Constitution;

“convicted prisoner” means any prisoner under sentence of a court or court martial;

“Deputy Commissioner” means a Deputy Commissioner of Prisons referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section five;

“extended imprisonment” means extended imprisonment imposed in terms of section 346 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07];

“mechanical restraint” means restraint by the use of hand-cuffs, leg irons, strait-jacket or any other form of restraint approved by the Minister;

“medical officer” means a medical officer appointed or nominated under section thirty-six;

“Minister” means the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may from time to time assign the administration of this Act;

“non-commissioned officer” means a prison officer other than a commissioned officer;

“officer in charge” means the person appointed to be in charge of a prison under section twenty-four;

“official visitor” means a person appointed as such under section forty-eight;

“penal diet” means a punishment diet prescribed as a penal diet;

“periodical imprisonment” means periodical imprisonment imposed in terms of section 345 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07];

“prison” means any building or place declared to be a prison and includes a temporary prison established under section four;

“prison officer” means any officer of the Service and includes— (a) the Commissioner; and

  • every Deputy Commissioner; and
  • any officer seconded to the Service;

“prisoner” means any person, whether convicted or not, under detention in any prison;

“Prison Service Commission” means the Prison Service Commission established by section 100 of the Constitution;

“prohibited article” means any article which is not issued to any prisoner by authority of the officer in charge, with the approval of the Commissioner or in accordance with this Act;

“reduced diet” means a punishment diet prescribed as a reduced diet;

“Service” means the Prison Service established by subsection (1) of section 99 of the Constitution;

“unconvicted prisoner” means any person, not being a convicted prisoner, duly committed to custody under a writ, warrant or order of any court or any order of detention issued by any person authorized thereto by any enactment or by order of a court martial;

“visiting justice” means a visiting justice appointed under section forty-five;

“weapon” means any firearm, baton or tear smoke or such other instrument as may be prescribed;

“young prisoner” means a prisoner under the apparent age of nineteen years and may, at the discretion of an officer in charge, include a prisoner whose apparent age does not exceed twenty years. PART II

ESTABLISHMENT OF PRISONS

                       3    Establishment of prisons

The Minister may declare any building or place in Zimbabwe to be a prison under this Act and may declare that any such prison shall cease to be a prison.

                       4    Temporary prisons

Such provision shall be made as the Commissioner may direct for the shelter and safe custody in temporary prisons of such number of prisoners as the Commissioner may determine and every such temporary prison shall be deemed to be a prison for the purposes of this Act.

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