Uganda’s prisoners go hungrier: Johnson Byabashaija

Uganda’s prisoners go hungrier:  Johnson Byabashaija
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Each prison inmate will feed on less than a half kilogram of maize flour daily starting next month.

This is as a result of Uganda Prisons food budget cuts.

The inmates feeding food ratio reduces from 680 grammes to less than 500 grammes in which each prisoner shall eat one cup of porridge a day due to inadequate funding of prison.

This was revealed by the Commissioner General Uganda prison services Dr. Johnson Byabashaija while appearing before the Human Rights Committee chaired by Mitoma District Woman MP Jovah Kamateka to answer queries related to rights of prisoners.

In the financial year 2017/18, the Uganda prison service requested a budget of 185 billion shillings, 31 billion shillings was to cater for inmates feeding but only 3 billion shillings was allocated leaving a funding gap of 28 billion shillings.

Congestion

There are 290 prison units housing 55,784 inmates countrywide. The number of prisoners has been increasing over the years.

In 2014, the inmate population stood at 40,526 but has since increased to over 15,000 inmates in the last three years.

Mr Baine says at least 8,500 inmates are being held at Luzira Prison, a jail that was constructed to house 3,000 detainees.

When President Yoweri Museveni visited Luzira Prisons in April, Dr Byabashaija, said Uganda has the highest percentage of inmates on remand in East Africa.

He said 52 percent of inmates are on remand compared to only seven percent in Rwanda and 45 percent in Kenya.

Mr Baine says it is only an effective justice system that can help his institution reduce the number of inmates.

“If the justice moves fast, maybe these people on remand can win cases and get released. They should also explore different justice systems like plea bargaining,” he said.

Plea bargaining is an agreement in a criminal case between the prosecution and accused persons whereby the suspect agrees to plead guilty in exchange of some concession from the state.

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