12 October 2016

Uganda: Government to Build 1000-Capacity Jails Annually to Cut Down Congestion

Kampala — Uganda Prison Services is to build a 1000-inmate capacity prison annually starting this year in order to cut down congestion, the Internal Affairs minister has announced.

Maj Gen Jeje Odongo, who was accompanied by state minister Mario Obiga Kania and prison officers made his maiden visit to the Luzira prison to assess first-hand the state of the jailhouse.

The duo visited Upper prison commonly known as the Maximum Security Prison, the Murchison Bay wing and the Women's wing.

"We are looking at expansion of accommodation for prisons staff and prisoners. We have plans to build a prison per financial year accommodating nearly 1,000 prisoners," Maj Gen Jeje Odongo said. "We think in the next five years, we will have at least brought population of prisoners to manageable levels."

Mr James Mwanje, the deputy commissioner of prisons, told the ministers that congestion in the prisons is worrying.

"The current prisons carrying capacity of is for a daily average of 16,612 prisoners. Current prisons' population of 48,714 exceeds available capacity by 32,102 with some prisons holding up to 3 times their designed capacity," Mr Mwanje said.

According to statistics availed by the prisons authorities, the Luzira Upper Prison is occupied by 3,213 prisoners instead of 668 prisoners; its optimal capacity. The data indicate that Murchison Bay wing is holds 2,026 inmates instead of 602 prisoners while Kampala remand wing with a capacity for 309 is occupied by 1,424 prisoners.

Mr Mwanje said rehabilitation facilities and programmes for reintegration of offenders are insufficient, adding that only 13 of 249 prisons have industrial workshops which are not well equipped.

"The existing rehabilitation facilities do not match the current sentencing regimes with many prisoners having sentences of over 30 years and above. The existing facilities and the prevailing rehabilitation process are not tailored to handle such cases," he said.


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