The Uganda judicial system has a mountain to climb in a bid to redeem itself after a new report indicated that the country may have run out of space to hold a rising number of prisoners. By John Masaba




According to a report released by the World Prison brief, Uganda’s prisons are 293.2% occupied revealing a severe overcrowding that needs to be quickly fixed to avoid a catastrophe.
As of October 2017, there were 54,059 people in Uganda’s prisons, implying there are 129 prisoners for every 100,000 Ugandans.
Speaking to Voice of America recently, Dr. James Kisambu, the head of prison health services, was quoted as saying the crowding had led to spike in diseases, including in the MDR-TB MDR-TB – a deadly drug resistant strain of tuberculosis.
The official added that over 50% of the cases of MDR-TB in Uganda come from the prison system.
He said the situation is compounded by a shortage of health workers, with Luzira having only five doctors of the more than a dozen it needs.
According Chapter Four Uganda, an NGO that advocates for human rights, most of the prisoners are pre-trial detainees, which it says are “held in blatant violation of the right to liberty & fair trials.”
Haiti, in the Caribbean, tops the log of countries with most overcrowded prisons at 454.4% prison occupation. Philippines, El Salvador, and Zambia lie in second, third, fourth with prison occupation of 436%, 348% and 303% respectively. Guatemala with 296% sits in the fifth place.
On the other hand, Nauru – located in the Pacific Ocean – has the least number of prisoners with only 14% of their prisons occupied.