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Regional Prison's bosses call for segregation of prisoners

By Petride Mudoola

Added 29th September 2016 04:20 PM

"It is presumed that someone is still a suspect until proven guilty, for that reason, keeping convicts together with remand prisoners stigmatizes a prisoner who is still on trial..."

Regional Prison's bosses call for segregation of prisoners

Inmates of Luzira Women's prison assemble to listen to the Regional prison's bosses during their visit to the detention facility. Photos by Petride Mudoola

"It is presumed that someone is still a suspect until proven guilty, for that reason, keeping convicts together with remand prisoners stigmatizes a prisoner who is still on trial..."

Regional Prison bosses have called upon their Ugandan counterparts to provide for complete segregation of prisoners as required by the International Law.

"United Nations standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Offenders provides for complete segregation of convicted prisoners from unconvicted (remands) prisoners, unfortunately Ugandan prisons have not conformed to these terms," George Diarga, the Officer in Charge of Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in Kenya observed.

Diarga made this remarks during the East African Community Bench Mark exchange visit by prisons/correctional subsector committee while visiting Luzira Maximum Security Prison recently.

"It is presumed that someone is still a suspect until proven guilty, for that reason, keeping convicts together with remand prisoners stigmatizes a prisoner who is still on trial. As a result, the suspect may become worse than he came in," Diarga observed.

In his response, Wilson Magomu the Regional Prison's Commander Kampala Extra pointed out the increasing population within prisons as one of the challenges leading prisons' failure to separate convicts from remands.

The occupancy rate of many prisons in Uganda is above 250 percent.

"In view of the congestion rate within Uganda's prisons, it is practically impossible for us to separate convicted prisoners from remand inmates because we don't have enough space to accommodate them," Magomu stated.

 


Currently, the remand population has increased from 52 percent in the last financial year to 55.4percent this year. As a result, the congestion level has gone up from 231 percent to 239 percent.

Magomu however, informed regional delegates that prison's authority is advocating for special units to ensure that terror suspects and inmates who are a security threat are separated from the ordinary prisoners.

A report conducted by the International Centre for Prison Studies indicated that Uganda's prisons are so heavily congested that some are accommodating more than ten times beyond the number of inmates originally intended for their capacities.

The  report  further  indicated  that part of the overcrowding  was due to the  criminal justice  system  which takes  long to dispense  off cases in time  as  a result, 80 to 90 per cent of those incarcerated are still waiting for their trials, since bail is not an option.

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