MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Tuesday grilled officials from Uganda Prisons Services over the prolonged stay of prisoners on remand without trial, a thing they say violates their rights.
They were appearing before the Committee to respond to audit queries raised by the Auditor General that indicated that some prisoners been on remand for more than six years.
In the details provided, prisoners committed to High Court are 9,845.
Out of these, 46 have been in prison for more than 72 months and the highest number 3,042 have stayed in prison between 13-24 months without trial.
Officials revealed that prisoners who have committed Capital offences are 3,099, with most of these having been on remand for more than two months while those rotting away for committing petty crimes are 13,788.
Out of these, 10,285 have been on remand.
The June 2016 audit report adds that Uganda Prisons had planned to provide a total carrying capacity of daily average of 16,517 prisoners. However, at the time of audit, an inspection was carried out on a sample of stations and it was revealed that the population of prisoners as at August 2017 stood at 49,900 exceeding the available capacity by 33,383 inmates, putting the occupancy level of prisons at 260%.
The auditors expressed concerns over the prison population noting that most of the prison wards are overcrowded, with some having been found housing up to at least four times their designed holding capacities.
At last year’s audit, a total of 1,325 inmates out of 4,374 were on remand for more than two years with Auditors warning that having inmates on remand for more than two years without trial is a violation of prisoners’ rights to trial which denies them timely justice and as a result, resources are wasted to that effect.
A review of prisons records showed that 4,598 prisoners each being fed at Shs3000 per day have been on remand for more than two years that saw Government spent Shs5bn per annum on feeding .