The respect of prisoners’ rights: A case study of Luzira prison, 2000-2012
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This study was set out to assess the respect of the rights of prisoners in Luzira complex. It focused on conflicts in society as causes of imprisonment, the awareness of various rights of inmates and discussed four basic rights. The researcher examined the challenges faced in respecting prisoners’ rights, the consequences of not respecting them and the methodology used. Finally the conclusions and recommendations were made. In the 1970s, Prisoners’ abuse was common as civilian prisons and military conditions seriously deteriorated. This persisted and is still rampant in some prisons today following the denial of prisoners the basic needs like food, medical care, fair trial and education. The research is a case study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Simple sampling and purposive sampling were used in the selection of respondents and data collection. The methods used were: the focused group discussion, in-depth interviews, observation and documentary method. Questionnaires were used as research instruments. The study established that the level of awareness about prisoners’ rights in Luzira was good. Many organizations are involved in sensitizing the inmates about their rights and providing them with some necessary assistance. The researcher concentrated on four rights: the right to education which was not taking place in Kampala Remand, the right to health which was respected in all the four units though there still challenges for surgery and obstetric services, the right to access to court and the right to food and clothing. The challenges that hinder the respect of prisoners’ rights include: inadequate funding, prisoners’ arrogance, poor pay to staff and overcrowding. The outcomes of not respecting the rights of inmates are: assaults, threatening fellow inmates, over staying in remand, diseases and murder. The researcher concluded that the Prisons department and other organizations did their best to ensure that inmates fully enjoy their rights. However, there still some challenges which prevent them to enjoy these rights. Therefore the recommendations are that the government should renovate and construct more prisons for decongestion, give the opportunities for formal education including peace education in all the four prison units. The government should also increase the remuneration of the staff and the budget allocated to this department. There is need for regular court sessions to ease the load of those who have over stayed in remand. The UPS should request courts to award community service to petty offenders since this can be a way to reduce congestion.