Prisoners from Kigo have expressed frustration that they are not being allowed time for reform after conviction. These through a joint memorandum indicated that they are suffering long sentences that are deemed to make them hopeless something they think of as revenge instead of giving them opportunity to return to community and exercise reform.
This was during a visit by the Uganda Human Rights commission as they commemorated their 20th anniversary in their struggle to uphold Human Rights in the country.
Through a joint memorandum from the women and men at Kigo, the inmates expressed concern that even if they appreciate the improving respect of their conditions, they are still facing numerous challenges that are infringing on their rights.
While reading their memorandum, the chairperson of the inmates rights commission, Mukisa Ronald expressed dissatisfaction with extremely long sentences on conviction.
Mukisa read; “convicts are being given sentences with no provision for reform but mere hopelessness.”
These say such is an indication of of a society that considers them outcasts.
“The sentences are given to serve as revenge and not to allow reform as we get back to community,” he added.
As a way of acceptance and rehabilitation the prisoners requested that they should be helped reintegrate into society after such long sentences.
“Reintegration homes like for women who go back home only to find their men have remarried.”
The prisoners added that a number of them are being held on long remand worsened by the current prosecutors’ industrial action. Mukisa added that remand periods are even aggravated when DPP fails to find enough evidence.
“Our other challenge is that judges delete cause listed files from sessions keeping us longer in prison instead of freeing us and putting us on notice when DPP gets evidence,” Mukisa said.
The prisoners said that away from this, their rights are also being abused at investigation level as police connives with complaints to run minor offenses into capital matters to merely keep them in prison.
These noted that they are losing property too at the hands of police.
“Arresting officers take our property, yet they are never used as exhibits in court,
the receipts are also taken from us that we can’t make any claws.”
The inmates also say rape and defilement suspects are handled unfairly as victims are tested in the absence of the accused which leads to wrong reports with no one to defend them.