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Uganda Prisons seeks Shs97bn to feed prisoners and build mini-max jail

Uganda Prisons seeks Shs97bn to feed prisoners and build mini-max jail

The Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) needs Shs79.973 billion to cover outstanding arrears for prisoners’ meals accrued by Financial Year 2023/2024, according to the Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs.

Committee chair Wilson Kajwengye made this announcement on Wednesday during a report on the National Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year 2024/2025 before the Budget Committee of Parliament.

The committee report states that food from prison farms is provided to an average of 81,729 convicts everyday for a cost of Shs5,000 per prisoner.

“A supplementary budget of Shs79 billion was provided to take care of arrears that stood at Shs158.94 billion as at Financial Year 2022/23, hence leaving a shortfall of Shs79.943 billion.

The committee was tasked by Bardege-Layibi Division MP Martin Ojara Mapenduzi with providing information on the amount of food that UPS produces from its farms. He also mentioned that the UPS and Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces were given funding to increase food security in response to a food crisis that occurred in the Karamoja sub-region in 2022.

“In 2022, Uganda Prisons was given 19,200 acres of land on Aswa Ranch. It would be good for the Chairperson to inform us on how much Prisons was able to use from this land and the money that was given to them,” Ojara Mapenduzi said.

The committee report suggests that in order to alleviate prison facility congestion, funding worth Shs18 billion be prioritized for the construction of a mini-max prison in Mbarara District. Kajwengye stated that by January 2024, the prisoner population stood at 77,316, but Uganda Prisons has an approved capacity of 20,996, implying that 56,320 prisoners are in excess of the approved capacity. Legislators also questioned the need for more prison facilities across the nation.

He faulted the backlog of inmates in Uganda’s prisons on the judiciary’s delayed delivery of justice and the jails’ sluggish rate of expansion.

Ronald Kanyike, Bukoto County East MP recommended that there ought to be a funding component to support refresher courses for Police officers.

“Police officers need capacity building to improve their investigations which will in turn check on the rising numbers of the arrested individuals in prisons,” Kanyike said.

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