Students debate With Parliamentarians

Students debate With Parliamentarians

A possible government move to privatize state prisons would enable prisoners enjoy much needed human rights, Members of Parliament have argued in a mock debate.

Supporting the Motion ‘Prisons should be privatized,’ MPs Hon. Herbert Ariko (FDC, Soroti Mun.), Hon. Anna Adeke (Ind., Youth), Hon. Beatrice Anywar (Ind., Kitgum Munic) and Hon. Mwine Mpaka (NRM, Youth) said privatized prisons would help improve the economy as inmates’ labour would be better utilized.

The mock debate pitting MPs against students from selected secondary schools, was organized by the National Debate Council in conjunction with the Parliament of Uganda, and was held in the Parliament Chamber on Wednesday 14th December 2016.

The debate was held ahead of the finals of the 7th National Schools Debate Championship, between Mengo SS and Mbarara High School, also held at Parliament today.

Hon. Mpaka said privatizing prisons would free up much needed resources for other sectors like education and health.

“There is over congestion in prisons, which is affecting prisoners’ health and human rights,” said Hon. Mpaka.

Hon. Anywar said that considering that prisons are meant for rehabilitation, private players would be better positioned to take on the role. She also said that innocent children were being incarcerated together with their mothers.

“Our prisons are congested and prisoners are not being treated like human beings,” said Hon. Anywar adding that “Private operators will give better services.”


Hon. Ariko said privately run prisons would better help inmates integrate into society at the end of their sentences.

Students however rejected the initiative, arguing that in doing so, government was running away from its mandate of keeping criminals out of the public eye in favour of profits. They disagreed with the proposal that prisoners need to enjoy the rights and luxuries that would be provided by private operators.

“Government has the mandate to look after prisons and prisoners under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Government should not run away from its mandate,” said Bary Ainomugisha (Kitovu) adding that “There is no guarantee that private players will have the capacity of keeping terrorists and criminals in jail.”

Students argued that fighting crime was so risky to be put in private hands and argued that government rather addresses the issues leading to increased crime in the country.

“Government should also address corruption in the system that has led to terrible conditions in prisons,” said Abaasi Luyombo (Iganda SS).

Source: Parliamentary News

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