HOW LONG SHOULD ONE FIRST SPEND IN PRISON BEFORE GIVEN FAIR AND SPEEDY TRIALS OR APPEALS HEARING?
The above question was asked me by an inmate when I visited Upper Prison Luzira on 18th February, 2014 and interacted with the inmates there. Did I provide a good answer? No. That is why my Foreword this time covers two months of February and March because; after the highlight for March which was our AGM, the next highlight for both months is the prison decongestion drive initiated by the Judiciary and the DPP’s office. It is no longer news that our prisons are congested and that some of the reasons for this state of affairs relate to deficiencies in the Judiciary, failure by lawyers to effectively represent inmates and general challenges faced by the criminal justice system. It is a well known fact that upper prison was intended to house only 600 inmates but now houses about 3000 inmates with convicts on death sentences, life sentences and long terms of up to 300 years. There were also quite many inmates that did not know their fate and how long it would take for them to know when their cases would be determined.
The inmates shared many concerns key among which was lon...Read More