Malawi Chief Justice Msosa hits out at overcrowding in the country’s prisons

“Speaking in Mangochi on 3 Sept at the start of a two-day orientation for judges and registrars organised by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) for the Lilongwe Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Malawi, Malawi’s Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa has accused arresting authorities including the Malawi Police Service of being the source of the problem of overcrowding in the country’s prisons, which is the major challenge in the criminal justice system.

She has since suggested that decriminalising minor offences, increased employment of alternative sentencing, restorative and traditional justice could help solve the problem of overcrowding in prisons.

“Overcrowding could be further alleviated by…making attempts to accelerate trials, making cost orders against lawyers to penalise them for delays and strictly observing time in police custody to 48 hours,” she said urging for better training for officers in the Malawi Prison Service to make it more self-sufficient.”

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IRLI is also working with the CCJP as well as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Malawi Law Society, Legal Aid Department, the Paralegal Advisory Services (Pasi), the Judiciary and the Malawi Police Service to implement diversion programmes as well as processing bail applications for those remandees who have spent the most time in pre trial detention. Working with the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Department, IRLI is building the capacity of local institutions to address the systemic challenges contributing to overcrowding in Malawi’s prisons.