Overcrowding in Uganda, show prisons in Cuba, false allegations by inmates in Ireland

Uganda's Lira Prison was said to be at 420% of capacity in March 2010. (Photo: Lynsey Addario for Human Rights Watch)

Uganda’s Lira Prison was said to be at 420% of capacity in March 2010. (Photo: Lynsey Addario for Human Rights Watch)

Prisons Commissioner: Ugandan prisons not fit for human habitation

Uganda’s Commissioner General of Prisons, has told MPs that most of the country’s prisons were built before independence in 1962 and are dilapidated and unsuitable for human habitation. Johnson Byabashaija said the facilities were built to cater for 14,000 inmates, not the current population of over 37,000 inmates. The New Vision reports that the Prisons Service has asked for more funds in the 2013/14 budget to improve its correctional centres. Read more.

3000 California inmates at risk from lung disease

Reuters reports that about 3 000 California inmates exposed to the potentially lethal lung disease Valley Fever may be relocated to facilities in other areas. The disease is scientifically known as coccidioidomycosis, causes pneumonia-like symptoms, and is contracted by inhaling fungal spores that grow on dry soils in the Southwest USA. Between 2006 and 2011, 34 inmates died of the disease at two San Joaquin prisons. Read more.

‘Flowers and songs’ from Cuba’s inmates

Inmates at Cuba’s Combinado del Este prison welcomed journalists with handmade paper flowers and songs, the BBC reports. The cells reporter Sarah Rainsford saw were “cramped, with three men to each”, but clean. But human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez claims that conditions away from what he termed “show prisons” are lamentable. Read more.

Irish prisoners’ complaints unfounded

Serious allegations of assault and mistreatment made by Irish inmates have been found to be false, the Irish Times reports. The complaints were looked into by independent investigators working under the Inspector of Prisons. The Prison Officers’ Association says it is too easy for prisoners to make complaints against its members and wants those who are found to have fabricated or embellished a complaint to be punished. Read more.

Two escape from Manchester prison van

 ITV reports that Greater Manchester police are offering a £10 000 reward for information leading to the recapture of Ryan MacDonald and Stevie McMullen, who were freed from a prison van on Tuesday by three masked men. Read more.

Trinidadian prisoners hurt in crash

 The Trinidad Express reports that two prisoners – including a teenager – were handcuffed and locked away in the compartment of a prison vehicle that broke off and tumbled along the highway when the vehicle crashed  yesterday. Read more.

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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