By Pascal Kwesiga
PRISONERS in Uganda will have to wait for long before they can enjoy their conjugal rights because of the adequate accommodation facilities in prisons.
According to the commissioner of prisons in charge of inspectorate, Wycliffe Kururagire, the Uganda Prison Service cannot consider establishing facilities for inmates to enjoy conjugal rights now when the institution is inundated by overcrowding.
“You have just said prisoners in Lira are sleeping on top of each other and now you are talking of conjugal rights. Do you want them (prisoners) to do it in the air?” Kururagire asked.
He was responding to an official from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who asked why the new guidelines on the conditions of arrest, police custody and pre-trial detention in Africa are silent on the prisoners’ conjugal rights.
The Uganda Human Rights Commission held a dialogue on the new guidelines developed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on Friday.
MP Annet Nyakecho, a member on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, said inmates at Lira prison in northern Uganda sleep in turns due to inadequate accommodation facilities.
“Prisoners sleep on top of each other. We shall never find a solution to these problems until we overhaul the country’s justice system,” she added.
Some human rights activists and legislators want judges to sentence prisoners convicted of petty crimes to community service as one of the measures to decongest prisons.