menu

Mobile Search

You are here

You are here

Added: 1 year 4 months ago
3,429 Views

Share this story

Prisons service calls for amending law to limit time inmates spend on remand
The Uganda Prisons Service is calling for a revision in the law to limit the period an inmate can spend on remand awaiting trial.

The Uganda Prisons Service is calling for a revision in the law to limit the period an inmate can spend on remand awaiting trial.

According to prisons authorities, in prisons across the country, many inmates have been committed to the High Court for trial and their hearings are conducted for years. This has led to the congestion in the prisons.

Frank Baine, spokesperson of the Uganda Prisons Service , told NTV that this has led to the high numbers of inmates on remand. This, coupled with limited funding to the institution, has left the Prisons Service overstretched. 

The World Prison Brief, a research centre in London, ranks Uganda’s Prisons as the 9th most congested in Africa.  In 2015, the International Centre for Prisons also based in London ranked Uganda as the country with the most congested prisons in East Africa in the 249 prison facilities across the country.

This is a fact acknowledged by Uganda Prisons spokesman Frank Baine Mayanja, who says there are 48,000 inmates in prisons around the country but this is more than double the required number at 22,000.

For instance, Luzira Maximum Security Prison built by the British colonial government nearly 60 years ago with a capacity of at least 1,700 inmates, now holds over five times that capacity with at least 8,000 inmates behind its walls.

Members of the Parliamentary committee on defence and Internal affairs who recently visited the prison on a fact finding mission heard from some inmates that they had spent five to 10 years on remand before trial.

At the recent passout of prisons service personnel at the Kololo ceremonial grounds, commissioner general of Prisons Dr. Johnson Byabashaija said 55% of the inmate population across the country is of those on remand.  

The rise in inmate numbers without a commensurate expansion in space has caused more challenges. For instance, the spread of contagious diseases like cholera and tuberculosis. Diarrhoea also remains a time bomb in prisons due to poor sanitary conditions. In January, an inmate died of cholera in the government Prison in Sironko district while an outbreak was also reported in Malukhu prison in Mbale district.