April 27, 2010

Recommendations

 

To the Zambia Prisons Service and Ministry of Home Affairs

  • Increase the use of parole, including a priority for ill detainees and pregnant and lactating detainees
  • Reform prisoner disciplinary systems by:
    • Suspending all use of penal block cells, which currently violate the prohibition on inhuman treatment
    • Immediately discontinuing the practice of stripping inmates naked and holding them in water while in penal block confinement
    • Consistently punishing officers using corporal or other inappropriate punishments
    • Immediately discontinuing a reliance on separate cell captain justice systems, so that only prison officers decide on or inflict punishment, in accordance with the Prison Act and Prison Rules
    • Consistently punishing cell captains judged to have inflicted punishment on their fellow inmates, with aggravated punishments for instances of cell captain-inflicted corporal punishment
    • Providing prison officers with additional training in appropriate discipline methods and the inappropriateness of corporal punishment, with prison officer-guided education sessions for all inmates on prison rules and disciplinary methods and punishments
    • Ensuring detainees are able to send confidential complaints to state bodies and other organizations, and that all prison officials are aware of this right and do not interfere with it
  • Investigate all complaints of sexual assault of inmates by other inmates or officers, and take appropriate action against those found responsible
  • Investigate all complaints of physical, verbal, and sexual assault and abuse, by inmates and officers, against inmates suspected or charged with same-sex sexual conduct, whether in custody or prior to incarceration, and take appropriate action against those found responsible
  • Establish clear guidelines on the provision of prison-based health services, and scale up these services to:
    • Immediately establish the presence of a clinical officer at each prison, who at the morning line-up can judge prisoner health complaints and facilitate access to outside Ministry of Health medical facilities, eliminating the use of cell captains and non-medical prison officers from doing triage and deciding which prisoners are entitled to evaluation and treatment
    • Address TB by:
      • Providing TB screening to all inmates entering the prison, and all existing inmates through targeted surveys, sputum analysis, and, if needed, chest x-ray evaluation
      • Ensuring prompt initiation on treatment for those with confirmed disease
      • Conducting a TB prevalence study to understand the true extent of the disease in the prisons
      • Establishing capacity for TB testing and treatment at each prison clinic
      • Educating prison officers and cell captains in TB symptoms and the necessity of referral for testing upon the appearance of symptoms
      • Further educating prison medical officers in the co-management of HIV and TB
      • Establishing clear guidelines and protocols for moving patients into and out of TB isolation, with regular checks to ensure that isolation is appropriate
      • Establishing guidelines on preventing officer exposure to TB
      • Improving immediately the ventilation, sunlight, and cleaning of TB isolation cells in line with international standards
      • Prioritizing placing prisoners who are HIV-positive and TST-positive on continuous Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT) for prevention of active TB as IPT becomes available, given the higher risk of TB in the prison population
      • As testing and treatment for drug resistance become available in the general population, ensuring full prisoner inclusion in testing and treatment programs
    • Address HIV by:
      • Offering voluntary HIV counseling and testing to all inmates entering prison and all existing inmates
      • Ensuring prompt initiation on treatment for inmates with confirmed disease
      • Establishing HIV voluntary counseling and testing and anti-retroviral therapy treatment and monitoring facilities at each prison
      • Implementing a system for HIV voluntary counseling and testing for pregnant inmates as part of a comprehensive system of  prenatal care, offering PMTCT where appropriate
      • Providing condoms and water-based lubricant to all prisoners and prison officers
      • Providing HIV prevention, treatment, and care education, including information and sensitization on harm reduction and safer-sex practices in the context of same-sex sexual conduct at each prison to increase condom acceptance
    • Systemic improvement:
      • Recruiting new prison officers to ensure adequate staffing in all facilities, including security and healthcare staff
      • Conduct health screening of all prisoners upon entry and at regular intervals
      • Establish clinics at each prison with at minimum a clinical officer on staff, with a consistent supply of essential medications and a minimum capacity to conduct TB testing and treatment and HIV voluntary counseling and testing and anti-retroviral therapy treatment and monitoring
      • Accept prison responsibility for remandee and convict custody equally, escort remandees outside prison grounds for medical care on terms equal to convicts
      • Improve prenatal care and institute the provision of breast cancer screening and regular pap smears
      • Establish a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system that records prison illness and deaths
      • Increase the use of mobile health services to rural prisons and improve transport from rural prisons to health facilities to improve healthcare availability
      • Create a system for continuity of care for inmates upon discharge to include a summary of the inmate’s medical record and a temporary supply of TB or HIV medication where necessary
  • Develop more comprehensive links and formalized protocols with Ministry of Health clinics that now provide most care to Zambian prisoners. 
  • Ensure that conditions of confinement meet international standards, including by taking immediate action to improve basic prison conditions by:
    • Renovating prison facilities, to provide every detainee with a bed of his or her own, and adequate space, light, and ventilation
    • Ensuring strict separation of children from adults; males from females; convicted from unconvicted detainees; and immigration detainees from criminal detainees
    • Providing food, at a minimum as established by the dietary scale in the Prisons Rules, including separate rations for children living with their mothers, and additional rations for prisoners with HIV, TB, and other health conditions requiring nutritional supplements
    • Ensuring adequate supply of clean water, in particular at regular intervals for prisoners engaged in hard labor in the fields
    • Constructing a sufficient number of sanitary toilet facilities for the current number of inmates, inside and outside of cells
    • Providing prisoners with basic necessities including adequate clothing/uniforms, blankets and mattresses, mosquito nets, soap, and razors, as well as gloves, disinfectant, rodent and insect extermination materials, and other equipment for safely completing their cleaning duties
    • Limiting the number of hours worked by inmates under sentence of hard labor
    • Ending the practice of inmates working at officer farms and implementing prisoners’ right not to work on Sundays
    • Providing inmates with meaningful compensation for prison work upon release
    • Protecting officers and prisoners from infectious disease by creating facilities for hand-washing
  • Increase the Prisons Service’s focus on prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration through increasing the availability of education programs in prison and improved reentry planning

To the Zambian Parliament

  • Amend the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to:
    • Repeal or amend Sections 155, 156, and 158 of the Penal Code in order to decriminalize consensual sexual conduct among adults, and implement gender-neutral laws to protect both adults and children from sexual violence and assault
    • Raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from eight to an age in line with international standards. In line with the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Human Rights Watch recommends an age of at least 14 years, with 12 years as the absolute minimum
    • Limit police and Drug Enforcement Commission powers to carry out sweeping, group arrests which violate international law
  • Amend the Prisons Act and Prisons Rules to:
    • Eliminate the exclusion of prisoners with sentences under two years from the parole program
    • Revise the guidelines on pay for prisoner work to bring them in line with inflation and make compensation meaningful
  • Amend the Immigration Act to:
    • Require that any administrative detention for the purposes of deportation be shown on a case-by-case basis to be proportionate and necessary
    • Allow that immigrants who are ordered deported by a court be given a time frame to depart the country that does not presume or require their detention
    • Include specific limits on the duration of administrative detention for the purposes of deportation
  • Secure enough funding for the budget for Zambian prisons, so that there are enough resources to ensure conditions consistent with international standards. Funding should be sought for:
    • Facility renovation
    • Upgrading of water and sanitation facilities to ensure the availability of clean water and sanitary and adequate toilet facilities at all prisons
    • Food and cooking facilities, so that food provision meets national and international standards
    • The provision of basic necessities to prisoners, including soap and adequate clothing
    • The Parole Board
  • Take the necessary steps to ensure that the existing legal provision for non-custodial sentences can be invoked, including by identifying an authority responsible to the Prisons Service who would oversee its implementation

To the President of Zambia

  • Issue a public statement identifying prison conditions and health as a national crisis and establish a high-level inter-ministerial task force to urgently develop a national prison health plan
  • Establish an inter-ministerial commission to increase collaboration, coordination, and cooperation among the prison, police, judiciary, and immigration authorities on reducing prison overcrowding, including the identification of steps necessary to achieve reduction of overcrowding and a timetable for implementation
  • Publicly oppose the criminalization of consensual sexual activity, including same-sex sexual activity, and encourage the provision and use of HIV prevention methods including condoms in prisons

To the Zambian Judiciary and Ministry of Justice                       

  • Issue guidelines for bail administration to encourage granting of bail and easing of surety requirements, considering accurate information about household incomes in Zambia
  • Ensure that all magistrates and judges know and advise defendants on their rights—particularly bail and representation rights—when they are brought before them to be charged
  • Speed proceedings by:
    • Streamlining the process of case transfer from subordinate to High Court
    • Providing for judicial cooperation so that retirement, absence, or death of a judge does not necessitate the recommencement of a trial
    • Strictly limiting adjournments
    • Abiding by all statutory requirements for when defendants need to be seen in court
  • Ensure all detainees, including those under 18, have access to a lawyer of their choice
  • Ensure defendants who do not have legal representation are provided with adequate assistance to ensure that pleadings are completely understood, witnesses are adequately questioned, and the accused understands his rights and options
  • Review the position of all offenders currently in pre-trial detention, with a view to releasing them on bail, and ensure effective non-custodial alternatives for defendants awaiting trial
  • Ensure that pre-trial detention is for as short a period as possible and subject to regular review
  • Ensure that children are subject to pre-trial detention only as a last resort

To the Zambia Police Service and Drug Enforcement Commission

  • Cease all arbitrary arrests including the practice of detaining family members and witnesses when the primary investigation target cannot be found

To the Zambia Ministry of Home Affairs/ Immigration Department

  • Ensure that each detainee receives a hearing in a timely manner
  • Ensure each detainee’s ability to request asylum
  • Reform the system for payment of deportation costs
  • Minimize the use of detention for immigration offenses

To the Zambia Ministry of Health

  • Develop a detailed plan for the improvement of prison health services and conditions in its National Health Plan 2011-2015

To the Zambia National Human Rights Commission

  • Investigate and publish reports on violations of the rights of individuals on the grounds of real and perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in Zambia, raising awareness of both legal and extra-legal forms of violence and discrimination
  • Continue existing prison and police cell monitoring, reporting, and advocacy

To international agencies, donors, and NGOs

  • In the short term, ensure the direct delivery of health service provision initiatives in prisons  including:
    • TB testing and treatment programs
    • HIV testing and treatment programs
    • Women and children’s health
    • Nutrition support programs
  • In the long term, support the scaling up of the prison medical directorate to provide each of the services detailed above
  • Provide technical and financial support for legal reform programs to improve coordination among police, immigration, drug enforcement, judiciary, and prison officials including:
    • Decreasing the length and use of pre-trial detention
    • Implementing non-custodial sentencing alternatives
  • Integrate discussion of prison health into existing technical advisory committees on health to the Zambian government
  • Provide financial support for scaling up legal assistance programs for prisoners, in order to speed progression of cases through the judicial system
  • Develop community reintegration programs, halfway houses, and microfinance initiatives to assist prisoners with reentry and decrease the risk of recidivism
  • Ensure regular visits by UNHCR to prisons to ensure that refugees are not held in prisons and that detainees have an opportunity to claim asylum