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Uganda Outranks Other African Countries for Prisoner Rehabilitation

uganda prisonersThere is always a furor whenever a massive release of prisoners takes place.

A report by the African Journal of Criminology and Justice indicates that Uganda has the best prison rehabilitation program in Africa and ranks fourth globally, going by the re-offender rate.

Re-offending (recidivism) refers to the number of times the same person is jailed in a year.

The Netherlands tops the world with the least number of criminals. It plans to close its detention facilities because there are no criminals there currently. Switzerland ranks second with a 22 percent recidivism rate followed by Norway 30 percent and Uganda with 32 percent.

This implies that in Uganda, of every 100 inmates released, only 32 would be back in prison within a year. In Africa, Uganda is followed by Zambia with a 33 percent recidivism rate, Rwanda 36 percent and Kenya and Tanzania 47 percent.

As at December, the report showed the United States as having the worst crime record in the world with recidivism of 90 percent. It was followed by South Africa, Germany and Asia tying at 74%.

While the excruciating, agonizing and distressing experience first-time offenders go through behind bars could be contributing to Uganda’s low recidivism, Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner General of Prisons, says their rehabilitation success was on the realization that prison service during the colonial time was premised on wrong philosophy.

“The prison system was not designed for correction, but punishment. Therefore, procedures do not encourage offender correction, yet there has to be more to prison than punishment,” he says.

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