LILONGWE, Malawi — When Maula prison was first constructed in this east African nation more than 50 years ago, the facility was designed to hold just 800 inmates.

But in the years since then, the prison population has exploded. Today, Maula houses 2,650 inmates — many of them Ethiopian migrants, seemingly detained indefinitely in harsh and unsanitary conditions.

Maula Prison in Lilongwe, Malawi.

As of July 20, there were 193 Ethiopian migrants detained in Maula prison.

They were all on their way to South Africa, in search of a better future. They are all detained together in this single cell designed to house no more than 60 people.

Although many had finished their sentence weeks earlier, they were still in prison Read more…

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Life in Malawi’s prisons: Overcrowded, filthy and plagued by disease