LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi President Peter Mutharika this week set free 283 prisoners to mark Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The exercise has been effected from the country’s overcrowded jails that lack space to accommodate inmates.

In most prisons, inmates are spending their entire sentences sleeping in a sitting position due to lack of space.

In a press statement made available to the Maravi Post by Home Affairs ministry disclosed that the pardoned prisoners had served at least half of their sentences and had behaved well during their incarceration, or had not convicted of serious offences.

“The pardon of the 283 prisoners by His Excellency the President is a symbol of forgiveness as the country commemorates its Christmas and New Year celebrations,” reads a statement signed by Samuel Madula Secretary for Home Affairs and Internal Security.

Malawi’s 34 prisons, home to about 14,000 inmates, are battling severe overcrowding, which many blame on courts ordering jail sentences for minor offences. The jails were designed to keep 5 000 inmates.

The Prison Inspectorate recently reported that said conditions in Malawi keep worsening as the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) is on the increase, causing inmates to die unnecessarily.

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