There is a prison complex very close to where we live, it is about a 15 minutes walk and is called the Luzira Prison. At Luzira Prison, there are four separate units, one for those waiting for trials called remand, one womens prison, one maximum security prison, and Murchison Bay Prison. The complex is home to all maximum security prisoners in Uganda and serves as the referral hospital for all prisoners.
The prison population in Uganda is approximately 26,000. Approximately, 60% of all prisoners are on remand, meaning they are being held prior to being convicted and are merely waiting for trial. Most prisons have more prisoners than the intended capacity and therefore overcrowding is the norm. For example, Luzira Prison Complex is the largest prison with approximately to be 6,000 prisoners while its intended capacity is around 1,500.
It was surreal to visit a prison in Africa. I have visited multiple prisons in the United States and knew that prisons here would be different, but I just expected different to be entirely negative. But the truth is, although the inmates do not have adequate food, educational, or health supplies, they have the freedom of movement and have a sense of community. Inmates in Ugandan are not caged like American inmates. They are not viewed as dangerous or something to fear. They wander around the grounds, were able to come shake my hand, and could gather freely.
African Prisons Project works on multiple levels to enhance the positive qualities of African prisons and to improve the negative qualities. A few years ago, APP was able to build and furnish multiple resource centers at Luzira Remand Prison.
This is the library that APP built. It is quite impressive and is fully furnished with books and three computers. The walls are decorated with inmates' artwork.
For some odd reason the man in charge in the military uniform wouldn't let me take pictures outside of the areas that APP improved.