The Uganda Prisons Service is transferring inmates across the country in a bid free up congested facilities.
Uganda Radio Network reports that two weeks ago, over 100 prisoners were moved from Luzira Maximum Prison in Kampala to prison facilities in Eastern Uganda to decongest the country’s main prison.
However, Uganda Prisons spokesperson, Frank Baine says the exercise affects all prison facilities across the country.
“Transfer of prisoners is happening in all units. Looking at only Luzira would be narrowing the story,” Baine told Uganda Radio Network.
He says there are 290 prison units housing 55,784 inmates countrywide. The number of prisoners has been increasing over years. For instance, in 2014, the inmate population stood at 40,526 but has since increased by over 15,000 inmates in three years.
Baine says at least 8,500 inmates are being held at Luzira Prisons, a facility whose capacity is 3000 inmates.
Uganda Radio Network has learnt that most prisoners from Luzira have been taken to Kitalya Prison, Wakiso which has a capacity of over 1,500 inmates. A mini maximum prison is being constructed at Kitalya to further decongest Luzira.
Baine says hardcore prisoners are transferred to Jinja main prison, Nakasongola, Kitalya and Kigo while other prisoners can be taken to any prison facility across the country.
He says population growth, urbanisation, political campaigning and improvement in law enforcement are some of the key factors leading to increase of prison inmate numbers.
When President Yoweri Museveni visited Luzira Prisons in April, Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, said Uganda has the highest percent of prison inmates on remand in East Africa. He said 52 percent of inmates are on remand as compared to only seven percent in Rwanda and 45 percent in Kenya.