The Commissioner-General of the Namibian Correctional Service, Raphael Tuhafeni Hamunyela, says plans to relocate the Windhoek Correctional Facility to an isolated and secure location away from the centre of the city are still on the cards.
The renamed Windhoek Correctional Facility (previously the Windhoek Central Prison), where convicts with offenses such as murder, rape, armed robbery and other serious crimes are often incarcerated is located between Windhoek North and the northern industrial area along Independence Avenue .
During his tenure in office the founding president, Sam Nujoma initially mooted the idea of having an isolated maximum security correctional facility, as opposed to it being in the centre of town.
“The place is wrongly located. We are having it in our plan,” Hamunyela said, when asked about the location of the current correctional facility from where inmates have previously escaped.
During an interview with New Era yesterday, Hamunyela noted that the current facility is a security threat as people easily get away with criminal activities, such as smuggling drugs, knives and other prohibited items through the prison fence.
Other than its age, the current facility, which is home to convicted long-term criminals, is not spacious enough to erect another fence that would cordon offenders, noted the Commissioner-General.
“Sometimes you cannot stop people from walking close to the fence. We don’t have enough space to put another fence to cordon offenders working on the facility premises. The place is wrongly located. We have it in our plan [to relocate],” Hamunyela stressed.
As soon as the other major projects that are currently being implemented are done, the plan to look for a much more isolated and secure location will most likely be effected, Hamunyela noted.
Currently, the Namibian correctional service is in the process of converting old correctional facilities around the country to meet the new correctional approach, said Hamunyela. Also, new correctional facilities are also being built in other parts of the country, he added.
Remand facilities – where trial-awaiting offenders will be kept – are also being built, the Commissioner-General explained.