By Samuel Opio
The management of Uganda Prisons Services has recommended to the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga to release about 2000 prisoners, in a move aimed at decongesting the prisons and improve the fight against the spread of Coronavirus within the detention facilities.
While speaking to media at parliament on Monday, Commissioner General of Prisons Dr. Johnson Byabashaija said that they are planning to pardon about inmates who are on light sentences and those who are the third quarter of their sentences. Others to be considered for pardon include; breast feeding mothers, the aged above 65 years.
According to Byabashaija, the list will be submitted to the Attorney General for consideration.
Byabashaija was speaking after appearing before the parliamentary committee on appointments for vetting following the renewal of his contract as Commissioner General of Prisons.
“We are going to submit the list to the Attorney General for consideration of pardon in order to decongest the prisons. Secondly, we are also writing to the registrar of courts of judicature to release remands who have reached their remand mandatory period. This is not for capital offenders,” Byabashaija said.
He said that both prisoners and prison officials are scared of Coronavirus, which has prompted to cut off contact with the rest of the world by banning visits, admitting new prisoners as well as isolating prisons warders from their families.
He said that the new prisoners are being isolated from the old ones by sending them to the new prison facility.
“Our main effort is to make sure the virus doesn’t enter prisons because it is only us who work there who can introduce it or the new prisoners. But we have made sure that the new prisoners don’t go into our prison,” he said.
The Commissioner General also revealed that all staff who work directly with prisoners have camped at the prisons and aren’t allowed to leave he premises so they don’t bring the virus to the prisoners.