Zimbabwe's prisons grappling with a dire shortage of plates to serve meager food rations

A Zimbabwean official says that the prisons which have long coped with food shortages have a new problem: Not enough plates on which to serve the scarce food.

Zimbabwe Prisons Service spokeswoman Elizabeth Banda said that some maximum security prisons have just one plate for up to 40 inmates. She said the prison service was not able to buy new plates this year because of lack of money.

Zimbabwe's prisons are woefully funded, with prisoners, former prisoners and even prison officials often complaining about food shortages. A riot broke out at the country's largest maximum security prison, Chikurubi prison in Harare, in March over food shortages, in which prison officers shot dead five prisoners in the melee.