Prison Conditions in Zaire

Describing prison conditions under an acute crisis, this report covers not only decayed facilities, poor sanitation and overcrowding, but also prisons facing the economic and political disintegration of the state. Since 1990, a pattern of neglect and corruption has given way to complete abandonment. Prisons are left to their own devices and prisoners left to live or die according to whim and chance. In the past year, only the intervention of humanitarian and religious associations has prevented mass starvation. Even so, the high rate of death and disease dwarfs any of the other problems faced by the prison population.