UGANDA: PRISONS HOLDS 54,059 INMATES – 52% AWAITING TRIAL; SLOW JUDICIAL PROCESS TO BLAME

KAMPALA, Uganda's commissioner of prisons Robert Munanura has observed that slow judicial process and prosecution is responsible for the continued congestion of prisons in the country.

Munanura said until the criminal justice sector wakes up to its responsibilities, the prisons would continue to be hampered.

Our prayer as prisons is always to have quick justice but it never happens. Majority capital offenders spend over five years on remand without trial after committal yet we continue receiving more inmates on a daily basis, he noted.

He observed that congestion had always occurred because stakeholders in the justice sector especially the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and Police have not lived up to their duties.

Suspects especially capital offenders spend over 5 years on remand without trial after committal. I think the Judiciary should now think of a time frame for the trial of capital offenders after committal to reduce on the prison congestion, Munanura said.

Munanura made the comments on Friday at hotel Africana at the launch of the annual state of access to justice trends analysis report done by Laspnet, a legal service provider organisation.

The survey, conducted by Laspnet to primarily track how access to justice is faring in the country, revealed that 96% of the respondents had encountered problems like corruption and unreasonable delays while using justice institutions.

According to Munanura, they have over 54,059 inmates but over 52% are awaiting trial. Let the prisoners be heard first because some of them especially with appeals are heard after completion of their punishment, he said.

He also advised the police to carry out investigations before arrests are made especially in minor cases.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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