Arua Prison Inmates Cry Out over Congestion

2783 Views Arua, Uganda

In short
Constructed in 1930, the facility which was meant to accommodate 100 inmates is now home to over 950 inmates. The facility is hosting over 60 inmates aged above 65. Teenagers, Juveniles, adults, prisoners with mental problems, are all bundled together with each dormitory, built for 20 people, now hosting over 200.

Inmates in Arua Government Prison are appealing for decongestion of the facility.

Constructed in 1930, the facility which was meant to accommodate 100 inmates is now home to over 950 inmates. The facility is hosting over 60 inmates aged above 65. Teenagers, Juveniles, adults, prisoners with mental problems, are all bundled together with each dormitory, built for 20 people, now hosting over 200.

Despite the population within, its accommodation blocks are deplorable with cracks all over the walls and rotting roofs. The toilet facilities are equally appalling.

Prisoners attest to an awful sleeping experience where they often take turns to sleep on the floor, in the corridors and some, on the stairs. They squeeze themselves on papyrus mats with each papyrus mat shared among ten inmates or more.

This was part of the testimony in a meeting between prisoners and members of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament which made an impromptu visit to the facility on Wednesday.

The head of the Male prisoners at the facility Emmanuel Omirambe said that the congestion is caused by delays in exposing off cases by the judiciary, a result of which, people facing minor and capital offenses spend ages on remand. He appealed to the committee to advocate for special funding for construction of more dormitories at the facility.
 
Cue in: "The inmates in…
Cue out… Courts time."//
 
Susan Candiru, the leader of the female prisoners appealed to the MPs to engage judiciary to resettle mothers who have been convicted with their children. The female section, designed for 25 people, is now hosting 85 women and four babies.

Candiru who is serving her three year sentence for assault says extensive remand prolongs their stay in prison.

Cue in: …. "We have 85…
Cue out… also have homes."//

Jovah Kamateeka, the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on human rights says the situation at the facility is overwhelming. She adds that the judiciary needs to consider plea bargaining for such prisons as a way of decongesting the prisons.
 
Cue in: "We were concerned….
Cue out… We are concerned."//