Uganda Prisons Service yesterday passed out over 1000 Warders and Wardresses at a ceremony that was presided over by the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi at Kololo Independence Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala.
In a speech read for him by the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi at the function that was partially disrupted by the midday pour, President Yoweri Museveni said that Prisons Services are State Institutions that must have a clear ideology and correction framework to handle crime amongst society.
The President insisted that families should be the primary levels of shaping behaviour in the communities while schools and cultural institutions can only act as secondary levels of correcting offending individuals saying this will help in strengthening crime prevention.
He said that modern states have had a paradigm shift in the mission of their Prison Services and no longer look at Prisons as places for purely locking away evil doers but rather serve both a custodial and correctional role.
He urged the warders and wardresses to make use the available facilities and environment to identify personal talents which can be developed for their own befit and the country but also cautioned them against HIV/AIDS.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs James Baba speaking at the same function said that the major challenge facing prisons service on the continent is the congestion of prisoners and inadequate infrastructure for Prisons staff.
He said that inspite of the country’s population increasing at 3.4% per annum, prisoner population is increasing at 10% per annum which calls for robust crime prevention strategies, efficient measures of crime prevention, cost reduction policies and faster discharge of court cases of prisoners on remand.
The Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr. Johnson Byabashaijja said that more staff are needed to match the changing profiles of organized crime, exploit the production potential of prison farms and reduce the tax payer’s burden of maintaining offenders.
He called upon Government to start a prison staff and training college to offer more professionalism discipline given the uniqueness of the prison service officers.
This year’s pass out is the second largest pass out of prison warders and wardresses since Uganda Prison Service gained autonomy from then Uganda Police and Prison forces 1938.
The function was attended by African heads of Prisons and correctional institutions and their delegations from Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Angola and Tanzania.