The Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Service, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija has revealed that government is considering pardon and release of some prisoners as a move to decongest prisons in the country as the fight against COVID-19 continues.
Dr. Byabashaija revealed this while responding to media questions at Parliament after interfacing with the Parliament Appointments Committee were he had appeared for approval of his new appointment for another term as the Commissioner General.
He said that the Prisons Service is in process of selecting between 1,500 to 2,000 prisoners who have served three quarters of their sentences and are not charged on capital offences to be submitted to the Attorney General for consideration of pardon and be released.
The Commissioner General said that among the categories looked upon are the breast feeding mothers and those aged above 65 years.
He said that they are writing to the registrar of Courts of Judicature to release prisoners who have reached their mandatory remand period but not on capital offences.
“We are going to submit to the Attorney General for consideration of pardon and that will decongest the prisons. We are also writing to the Registrar of Courts of Judicature to release remandees who have reached their mandatory remand period but are not capital offenders to be released on Court bond,” Byabashaija said.
He however added that when doing something like that they must be extra careful otherwise they may release people who are not supposed to be released to the public.
Byabashaija noted that in the meantime, prisons have put in place measures to control the spread of Corona virus which include setting up an isolation centre where new prisoners are quarantined for a period of time.
He added that the prison staff have all camped at their work stations and are not allowed to get back home and all visitors have been blocked.