- Published on Saturday, 18 August 2012 02:28
- Written by EANA Reporter
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UGANDA’S Internal Affairs Minister Hillary Onek has urged prison authorities in East Africa to share experiences and best practices for effective custodial sentence management and supervision of offenders.
“We must ensure that our post-colonial prisons embrace humane treatment of offenders and justice as its core value,” stated the minister when addressing the three-day third meeting of the Chiefs of Prisons/Correctional Services in Kampala, which ended over the weekend, according to a press release issued by the EAC Secretariat.
He further said that East African countries should put more emphasis on reformatory prisons services, whereby the offenders when discharged were rehabilitated and skilful and reduced recidivism. “We can afford and must not allow convicts, who turned counter-productive and even more hard-core criminals in the community when set free,” he underscored.
He said that East African countries should do away with pre-colonial prisons, where Africans were dehumanized. “Our post independence prisons should have a humane face, although professional and serve for the intended purpose,” the Ugandan Minister emphasized, adding that prisons should not be places for beating, locking-up and crudely punishing prisoners.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Dr Julius Rotich, said the prisons and correctional services sub-sector has been integrated into the regional peace and security strategy for EAC member states.
Dr Rotich said this was critical to the EAC, saying it would also contribute to the successful implementation of the Common Market Protocol, which is the second stage of the regional integration. The first stage - the entry point - was the Customs Union, which came into force in January 2005.
The Partner States are currently negotiating for Common Monetary Union. However, the EAC Deputy Secretary General noted that the Peace and Security sector still faced funding challenges.
“This does not augur well for the sustainability of interventions. While the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States are exploring alternative modalities for funding the regional activities, Prisons authorities will be called upon from time to time to support planned interventions,” the EAC official said.
The Chairman of the meeting, Daniel Mutua, from Kenya, stressed for an effective and modern regional prisons services to implement the objectives of the EAC integration. “Better trained and equipped prisons’ authorities will be able to deliver the desired results,” he said.
The delegates also visited some prison facilities in Kampala. The report of the meeting will be forwarded for consideration at the Inter-state sectoral council meeting scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda between 20 and 27 August, 2012.