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Prison CP - May 2006

Corpun file 17640

The Monitor, Kampala, 4 May 2006

Parliament Outlaws Corporal Punishment

By Richard Mutumba and Emmanuel Mulondo

Parliament yesterday passed the Prisons Bill, which sought to abolish corporal punishment in prisons and allow free access to prisons by human right activists, magistrates and judges among other objectives.

The proposed legislation presented to Parliament three years ago by the Internal Affairs minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, will also establish a Prisons authority, council, regional and district prisons committees.

The 123-clause Bill was passed with a few amendments in a House presided over by the Speaker, Mr Edward Sekandi.

The legislation provides provisions relating to appointment, promotion and discipline of prisons officers, powers and their duties, admission, control and their discharge and remission of sentences and other incidental matters.

With the new legislation, all local government prisons will come under the umbrella of the Uganda Prisons Service to be headed by a commissioner general.

The new law will also provide for regular inspection of prisons by magistrates, judges, members of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and any other human rights groups with the aim of assessing the conditions in prisons and make recommendations to relevant authorities.

A number of provisions in the Bill are intended to give legal effect to the standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners and procedure for effective implementation of the rules, which were adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

The poorly attended Parliament approved a clause allowing a prisoner serving a sentence of imprisonment for three years or more to be allowed by the commissioner general within six months of the date due for release to be temporarily absent from prison on parole for not more than three months.

Copyright 2006 The Monitor. All rights reserved.

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