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Congestion in Kirinya prison

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Congestion in Kirinya prison

"If you're lucky to find space to sleep, you can't afford to turn," reveals one former prisoner

“If you’re lucky to find space to sleep, you can’t afford to turn,” reveals one former prisoner

Kirinya prison is holding three times the number of prisoners it was built to accommodate, The Sunrise has learned.

The South Eastern Region Prisons Commander Patrick Masiga said the Jinja-based prison has far exceeded its capacity raising the prospect of disease spread and the rise of other social ills like homosexuality.

“The facility which was designed in 1930s has over 1000 prisoners ,a much higher figure than its capacity of 360 inmates, the number increases but the space has remained the same,” said Masiga.

Masiga said the delayed disposal of Court cases, misplacement of files, delayed appeals have compounded the problem.

He also disclosed that the prison is over-stretched in terms of provision of physical security, infrastructure and amenities.

John Kakaire one of the former Kirinya inmates describes the situation in the prison as inhuman because the space is too small and hot especially at night.

“When you get where to sleep, you can’t turn because of limited space in the prison. We were just fighting for space,” Kakaire narrated.

Sale Yusufu also a former inmate of Kirinya prison who was convicted of desertion and sentenced for four years said when he was serving his sentence, they were over 3000 yet the space was too small to accommodate such a big number.

“There are no funs, the buildings are dilapidated and with asbestos which are very dangerous to human health.

“They used to force us to enter at 4:00PM yet the place was too hot. You would feel like collapsing, a room which has a capacity of 32 inmates can end up accommodating 80 inmates, Food at Kirinya is also a challenge, sometimes it is out of stock and when it is their there, there is no firewood to cook it,” he explained.

To date, neither expansion nor modernization has taken place in these two facilities hence congestion, which leaves them overstretched.

In 2014, Uganda was ranked seventh with most congested prisons in the world and the fourth most congested in Africa by the International journal of Criminology.

Efforts to obtain a comment from the prisons spokesperson Frank Baine by the Sunrise proved futile as his known mobile telephone contact was off.

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