The Commissioner General of Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), George Rwigamba was elected vice chairperson of the African Correctional Services Association (ACSA), during the biennial conference that ended in Kigali yesterday.
The head of prison administration in Mozambique, Dr. Eduardo Sebastiao Mussanhane, replaced as chairperson, Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner-General of Prisons of Uganda.
Byabashaija became the new secretary of the body.
The new ACSA executive committee was elected for a two year mandate and Burkina Faso agreed to host the 5th ACSA Conference slated for 2019, whereas Zambia accepted to be a standby country.
African prison chiefs acknowledged the important role of correctional services in national, regional, continental security and national development, but also observed with concern that poor funding of penitentiary services still exists across the continent.
This, they said in a communiqué, has led to inadequate rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders under their custody.
They implored governments of Member States to increase funding and support to correctional services, and also noted the need to share best practices to build a professional correctional system in Africa.
Following the four-day meeting, the African prison chiefs resolved to professionalise correctional services as a strategic objective and strive to transform their systems as a critical agenda.
As their association is still young, they committed to advocate for its recognition at the United Nations and the African Union level.
Prison chiefs also vowed to improve the rehabilitation and reintegration processes in penitentiaries in order to reduce high levels of recidivism; but also establish and improve collaborative partnerships with stakeholders in prisons management as well as improve collaboration with partners in the criminal justice system to reduce case backlog.
They also resolved to embrace and utilize public private partnership initiatives for infrastructure development and other services and explore the utilization of technological solutions in prisons management systems.