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The Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) has been at the forefront of reforming Uganda’s justice system since its inception in 1999. Nineteen years on, the achievements, milestones and success stories are visible, challenges notwithstanding. From reforms in commercial justice to the good legislative and policy environment, unprecedented infrastructure development (construction of numerous justice centres across the country) to award-winning innovations and initiatives (small claims procedures, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, sentencing guidelines, plea bargaining, etc,) – the sector is on course in its bid to create a pro-people justice system in Uganda.

It is, however, important to further examine how “pro-people” the workings of the sector are. Pro-people in this context is that JLOS has over the years strived to champion the cause of the vulnerable, the poor and generally those who are disadvantaged in different ways – financially, socially and even physically.

 

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NOTE: This article was originally published in the Daily Monitor on 17th January 2019.

 

By Edgar Kuhimbisa / Published: January 17, 2019 

Published in Latest News

 

About 55km northwest of Kampala CBD lies Kitalya – a quiet village located in Busunju County Wakiso district. Amid Kitalya’s cascading plains and sprawling green is a towering 5-acre prison facility under construction and this is a prison project like no other. 

Welcome to Kitalya Mini-Max Prison.

Today a team from the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) led by Dr. Johnson Byabashaija, the Prisons Service Commissioner General visited the construction site to get first hand experience of the progress made so far. Accompanied by a delegation from the JLOS Secretariat, the JLOS Construction committee, ICRC, members of Parliament and a number of officials from Uganda Prisons, Dr. Byabashaija was given a guided tour of this imposing facility by the lead consultant, Arch. Enock Kibbamu from Plantek Limited.

Described by the Commissioner General as “Uganda’s first ever real post-colonial prison”, Kitalya Mini-Max easily fits this glowing description and the facts don’t lie. 

Here is a sneak peek:

Big sized prison wards and 30 cells (all fitted with modern sanitary facilities) that can accommodate up to 4,000 inmates; a fully fledged medical wing complete with an inpatient section and isolation rooms for contagious diseases; about 70 CCTV camera points and a control room (24 hour surveillance on site and offsite); modern kitchen equipped with power saving technology; classroom blocks equipped with a computer lab and library; a large workshop block specifically designed and built for prison industry activities; full-fledged sport facilities (a football pitch, volley ball court, basket ball court and lawn tennis court); a multipurpose hall; multiple watch towers; and a modern administration block.

All this (and much more) at only 18.3 bn Ushs, which is by all measures a modest, and conservative figure given the sheer volume of work and quality of workmanship on display today.

According to Hon. Doreen Ruth Amule, the Chairperson of Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee who was part of the visiting delegation, Kitalya Mini-Max success story is one of the reasons Uganda Prisons is easily among the most highly respected institutions in Uganda. She thanked Dr. Byabashaija for his exemplary leadership and integrity without which a project of this magnitude wouldn’t have been possible.

Uganda Prisons globally ranks high thanks to its award winning rehabilitation program. At Kitalya, the prison industry workshops and educational facilities being constructed within the prison underscore UPS’ goal to rehabilitate prisoners and make them better citizens.  Like one construction project official put it to me today, “Kitalya is simply a correctional facility and not just a prison. The design features speak for themselves”.

Started in June 2016, construction is set to be completed by June 2019 but it could even be much earlier (around February 2019) thanks to the tireless efforts of the contractor (Ambitious Construction Co. Ltd), the consultant (Plantek Limited) and the Prisons project management team. 

Big tasks still remain though: to equip this prison facility and operationalize it once construction works are completed. This requires funding to procure furniture and fixtures as well as facilities for staff to manage and run the prison. 

However from today’s visit, one thing is crystal clear: Kitalya Mini-Max prison project with support from the Justice, Law and Order Sector is no doubt on course to make history and become a game changer in the war on prison congestion and the quest to take prisoner rehabilitation to a whole new level.

 

By Edgar Kuhimbisa / Published: 12 Nov 2018

Published in Latest News

 

The Justice, Law and Order Sector in partnership with with Justice Centers Uganda held the 1st National Legal Conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo on October 27-28 2011. On the sidelines of the conference, we had a chat with JUSTICE EDWIN MOGOMOTSI MOLAHLEHI  - Deputy Chair of Legal Aid Board South Africa who was a conference guest  speaker on the subject  ’Implementing the Constitutional Right to Legal Aid – The South African experience’.  Justice Molahlehi spoke to JLOS' Edgar Kuhimbisa and Diana Natukunda in this exclusive interview.

 

 DOWNLOAD this interview.

Published in The Big Interview