https://www.polity.org.za
Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
Home / Market IQ RSS Feed RSS ← Back
Africa|Health|Service|System|Contracting
Africa|Health|Service|System|Contracting
africa|health|service|system|contracting
Close

Email this article

separate emails by commas, maximum limit of 4 addresses

Verification Image. Please refresh the page if you cannot see this image.

Sponsored by

Close

Article Enquiry

Uganda's prisoner population surges, raising fears of Covid-19 outbreak

Verification Image. Please refresh the page if you cannot see this image.
Close

Embed Video

Uganda's prisoner population surges, raising fears of Covid-19 outbreak

7th August 2020

By: Reuters

SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE

Font size: -+

Uganda has recorded a 10% increase in the number of people in jail since March, a prison official told Reuters on Friday, with thousands jailed for alleged violations of coronavirus lockdown rules.

By imposing one of Africa's strictest lockdowns, the country of 42-million has registered just 1 213 Covid-19 cases and five deaths from the disease, despite crumbling public hospitals, doctors' strikes and corruption scandals.

Advertisement

But there have been at least three cases of the novel coronavirus in jails, fuelling concerns it could spread among prisoners. About 30 inmates who feared infection have escaped since the pandemic hit Uganda, though some have since been recaptured.

"Fear of contracting Covid-19 has been fuelling anxiety among inmates and we had mass escapes at two prisons," said Frank Baine, spokesman for Prisons service.

Advertisement

Correctional facilities worldwide have been fertile ground for Covid-19. Africa’s prison population of more than 1-million is especially vulnerable because of overcrowding, malnutrition and limited healthcare, health experts say.

Authorities in Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Kenya have reported Covid-19 outbreaks in their prisons.

The number of prisoners in Uganda has risen from 59 000 to 65 000 in five months, exacerbating overcrowding, Baine said, adding that lockdown violations -- such as defying curfews, travel bans and restrictions on using vehicles -- accounted for the unusually large increase in inmates.

"During the lockdown, people continued to commit crimes but the justice system more or less came to a standstill so the prisoner population inevitably went up," Baine said.

Uganda's jails can comfortably accommodate only 20 000 inmates, according to the prisons service.

"Anything beyond 20 000 is stretching our capacity," he said, adding that an amnesty by President Yoweri Museveni for some violators of Covid-19 regulations was now starting to reduce the prisoner numbers.

During the lockdown, a ban on private and public vehicles prevented some inmates being taken to court for hearings and some were unable to travel home immediately when they had served their sentences.

EMAIL THIS ARTICLE      SAVE THIS ARTICLE

To subscribe email subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za or click here
To advertise email advertising@creamermedia.co.za or click here

Comment Guidelines

About

Polity.org.za is a product of Creamer Media.
www.creamermedia.co.za

Other Creamer Media Products include:
Engineering News
Mining Weekly
Research Channel Africa

Read more

Subscriptions

We offer a variety of subscriptions to our Magazine, Website, PDF Reports and our photo library.

Subscriptions are available via the Creamer Media Store.

View store

Advertise

Advertising on Polity.org.za is an effective way to build and consolidate a company's profile among clients and prospective clients. Email advertising@creamermedia.co.za

View options
Free daily email newsletter Register Now