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COVID19: Uganda Prisons Seeks to Release 2,000 Inmates

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Dr. Byabashaija noted that they have also written to the Registrar of Courts to release persons whose remand period has expired. He however, said this excludes inmates on capital offenses.
The Uganda Prisons Commissioner General Johnson Byabashaija.

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Close to 2,000 prisoners could be released in a move to decongest the facilities as one of the control measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease-COVID19.

The Commissioner-General of the Uganda Prisons Services, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija, says they have written to the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga asking the government to consider pardoning petty offenders who have already served at least three-quarters of their sentences, breastfeeding mothers and inmates aged above 65. 

Speaking to Journalists shortly after interfacing with the Appointments Committee of Parliament over the renewal of his contract, Byabashaija said the Attorney General will forward the list to the pardons committee that will eventually advise President, Yoweri Museveni.

//Cue in; “We have selected…  

Cue out…decongest the prisons.”// 

Dr Byabashaija noted that they have also written to the Registrar of Courts to release persons whose remand period has expired. He, however, said this excludes inmates on capital offences.

//Cue in; “We are also…  

Cue out…get the right.”//

Byabashaija notes that there need to ensure that prison staff and new inmates don’t infect serving prisoners. He said that the frontline staff is currently camping at the prisons to avoid going to the barracks while all new inmates are separately taken to Kitalya Prison to avoid mixing with serving inmates. 

//Cue in; “you are aware…

Cue out….going to do.”//

Meanwhile, sources privy to proceedings of the Appointments Committee told URN that Byabashaija’s re-appointment as Commissioner-General hangs in balance because he has exceeded the retirement age of 60-years. 

When asked about the development, Byabashaija said that he had retired from Public Service in 2005 at the age of 47 and that the question of retirement age doesn’t arise since he currently serves on a contract basis.   

//Cue in; “I think I…  

Cue out…will pass me.”//    

Aged 62, Byabashaija who has served as Commissioner General of Prisons for 15 years is optimistic that the committee will approve his re-appointment by the President. His deputy James Mwanje was also vetted by the same committee.

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