The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi has said that the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) is undertaking an expansion of prison accommodation in response to MPs' concerns over congestion.
Muhoozi said that the government has since 2022 embarked on an expansion programme where six new prisons were constructed. These are located in Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Lira, Mutuufu, Kamuli and Kiruhura.
Completion of Prisoners' accommodation in Kisoro, Ntwetwe, Isingiro, Maiha, Lukaya, Loro, Yumbe, Lwabenge, Koboko, Bamunanika, and Kigandalo has also been planned in the 2023/2024 financial year, Muhoozi said.
Muhoozi made the revelation while presenting an action report which included responses to several MPs’ queries concerning the issues under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
He presented the report during the plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa on Tuesday, 06 February 2024.
Muhoozi said the UPS is still challenged by budget cuts despite the need to cover a representative number of districts experiencing prison congestion.
“Inadequate funds were allocated for the expansion of prisoners' sleeping accommodation. The development budget is inadequate and was cut from Shs37illion in the 2020/2021 financial year to Shs27billion in the 2023/2024 financial year,” Muhoozi said.
“The Prison Service is seeking Shs19 billion annually to construct five new low-cost security prisons and Shs33.3 billion to construct one regional Mini-Max prison of the Kitalya model with a capacity of 2,000 prisoners,” Muhoozi added.
He stressed that the service is still grappling with excess prisoner populations, saying it is beyond their carrying capacity.
“The average prison population of 75,707 prisoners exceeds the prison carrying capacity of 20,321 prisoners. At a projected daily average of 80,640 inmates and a projected increase in holding capacity, congestion is projected at 396.8 per cent,”. Muhoozi said.
On the MPs' plea to construct low-cost accommodation for prisons staff, Muhoozi said that 320 staff houses have been constructed.
He was hopeful that Shs1.4 billion allocated for staff accommodation in the 2023/2024 financial year would substantially offset the congestion.
Muhoozi said that they are in need of Shs46.5 billion to construct 900 housing units.
Deputy Speaker Tayebwa referred Muhoozi’s report for scrutiny to the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs