While offenders in the United States face problems such as mass incarceration, poor indigent defense and mandatory minimum sentencing legislation, offenders in the developing world often face conditions that are not only unjust but life-threatening.
Prison conditions have been especially dire in Malawi this year, where prisoners have gone without food for multiple days at a time.
Nationwide food shortages and economic hardship have caused the prices for maize, a staple in Malawian diets, to skyrocket. With limited budgetary allocations for food, prison officials have not been able to purchase enough maize to feed inmates.
A further complication is that the government is unable to alleviate the crisis. An article in the Nyasa Times states that while suppliers have enough maize in stock to feed prisoners, these suppliers have refused to sell to the government on credit.
CBI Malawi director Wale Junaid called the situation “dire” and said that students in the Mzuzu Prison where he works have gone without food for “some days.”
There are currently around 13,000 prisoners in Malawi. Men, women and children face hunger and have no recourse to aid. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Malawi, that they will have provision for their physical needs and that their country will see reform within the criminal justice system.