By Sandra Birungi
With 473 prisoners on death row, the Uganda Prisons Services (UPS) has opposed the death penalty saying carrying out the deed traumatized the prison authorities.
According to the UPS spokesperson, Frank Baine, prisons should be able to recuperate criminals not kill them. “We are challenging the issue of death penalty. Our mandate is to have safe custody which is humane. We reform and re-integrate, not hanging. Prisoners are part of our family. By the time you hang, it is like you are hanging your own,” he said.
He made the statements during a two-day forum to promote the rights of detainees at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala. It was aimed at popularizing the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012.
According to statistics read by the Commissioner Custodial Services of UPS, Augustine Obura, there are 242 prisoners on life imprisonment. Another 10 are serving imprisonment for life, 266 between 20 to 30 years, 19 serving between 31 to 40 years, 24 between 41 to 50 years, one serving between 51 to 60 years and three prisoners serving between 61 to 70 years.
He revealed that 154 out of 226 prison units still use the bucket system, where prisoners merely use buckets to ease themselves.
The Director Monitoring and Inspections UHRC, Roselyn Karugonjo, Segawa gave an overview of the commission findings in places of detention in Uganda. She urged UPS, ministry of internal affairs, Uganda Police Force and the director of public prosecution (DPP) to urgently release suspects being detained without files or charges.