The Effect of Smaller Prisoner Numbers at a Prison on The Prisoners’ Access to Food: a Case of Malawi’s Prisons

Hastings B. Moloko, Davis H. Ng’ong’ola, Henry Kamkwamba


While Malawi’s per capita cereal production may be higher than her per capita cereal consumption, Malawi is a net cereal importer and thus food insecure. The food situation is much worse in Malawi’s prisons because inmates generally eat one meal per day.

The general objective of this study was to determine the effect of smaller prisoner numbers at a prison on the inmates’ access to food. This was done by comparing food insecurity in small prisons with that in big institutions. An institution housing less than 400 inmates was considered a small prison while one housing more than 400 prisoners was considered a big institution. Using structured questionnaires in face to face interviews, the study collected data from 1000 inmates and 30 officers-in-charge from all prisons in the country. The data was analysed using Stata 12 and employed the probit and the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) models as analytical tools.

Results from the analysis showed that practically all inmates in Malawi’s prisons were food insecure. There was, however, a higher perception of food insecurity in big prisons than there was in small ones. Conditions of severe food insecurity were experienced more in big institutions than in small ones, and more inmates in big prisons depended on food brought to them from their homes. Food insecurity was more prevalent in big prisons than in small ones.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Hastings B. Moloko, Davis H. Ng’ong’ola, Henry Kamkwamba

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Journal of Agricultural Studies   ISSN 2166-0379


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