What you need to know:
- The facility has been registering cases of prisoner escape each year over the last five years.
- In 2016, six inmates escaped from Malukhu Prison in Mbale City. In 2018, another prisoners also escaped and in 2019, six also took off. Between 2020 and 2022, 12 cases of prisoner escape were registered.
The government has constructed a chain link fence around Malukhu Prison in Mbale City in order to reduce cases of prisoners escaping from the facility.
The facility has been registering cases of prisoner escape each year over the last five years.
The four-metre high chain link fence with four watch towers was constructed at a cost of Shs860 million.
The deputy Commissioner General of Prisons, Mr Robert Munarura, said the escape of prisoners has been a biggest challenge at the facility, adding that in the last five years about 22 cases have been registered.
“Fencing of the prisons is one way of improving the security and safety of prisoners and the community at large as it controls escape of prisoners from lawful custody,” he said during the ceremony to commission the fence at the weekend.
Mr Munarura said currently, they have a total of 74,835 prisoners in their custody across the country, of whom 48.0 percent are on remand, 51 percent are convicts and 411(0.5 percent) are civil debtors.
Ms Maureen Ninsiima, the officer-in-charge of Uganda Mbale Main prison, said the new fence has reinforced the existing one and will boost security.
She added that they have also enhanced the surveillance of the entire prison and its surrounding.
In Sironko, the government has also commissioned the new premises for Mutufu Prison constructed by the Prisons Engineering department.
The new facility has several wards, a male facility, female facility, staff quarters, flash toilets, shower rooms and recreation areas.
According to Mr Munarura, the old prison had the capacity to accommodate only about 80 prisoners.
“But this new one has the capacity of 230 prisoners, which can maybe handle about 300 prisoners,” he said.
Mr Munarura said the construction was funded by Justice, Law and Order Sector to address the issue of conjunction in prisons.
“Today the issue of congestion in Uganda prisons is far too high than we can handle,” Mr Munarura said.
According to world prison brief data, Uganda has 254 prisons with a total population of 74,444 in-mates against their total capacity of about 19,000. Mr David Giluri, the chairperson of Sironko District, said the prison was too congested beyond its capacity.
“The old facility was really in bad condition because it had been in place for a long time since 1954s and its capacity was only 80 prisons and yet the number of prisoners had kept on increasing each passing year,” he said.
Mr Luke L.L Lokuda, the chief administrative officer for Sironko, said the facility has transformed the image of Uganda prisons.