Construction of the largest prisoner correctional facility in Uganda has been completed. The facility sitting at 5-acres of land situated about 55 kilometers northwest of Kampala, in Wakiso District is now ready to receive inmates, according to Dr Johnson Byabashaija, the commissioner General of Prisons.
Named Kitalya Mini-Max Prison, the Shs25 billion state of the art facility was funded by the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) and constructed by Ambitious Construction Company Limited.
It was built with large sized prison wards and 30 cells all fitted with modern sanitary facilities. It has a fully-fledged medical wing with an inpatient section, a contact visitors’ room and isolation rooms for contagious diseases, plus a kitchen equipped with power-saving technology.
The facility also has classroom blocks equipped with a computer lab and library, a large workshop block specifically designed and built for prison industry activities, fully-fledged sports facilities including a football pitch, a volleyball court, a basketball court and lawn tennis court in addition to a multipurpose hall.
Its completion is expected to decongest Luzira upper prison, which is chocking with more than 3,000 inmates, five times above its holding capacity of 600 inmates. Dr Byabashaija observed that Kitalya Mini-Max prison is a game-changer in the war against prison congestion.
“This is a fantastic facility and I can see the congestion in Luzira is finished. It has been completed some few months towards the end of my contractual obligations with government, I can only call it a legacy,” he said.
During a walk around, Mr Byabashaija who has served as the Commissioner General of the Uganda Prisons Service for now 15 years, joked that the facility could accommodate 10,000 inmates and remain with some space.
Mr David Nsalasata, the Director of Production at the Uganda Prison Service noted that they benchmarked from different prison jurisdictions in different countries to come up with the facility. He added that much of the delay in the construction was as a result of several changes in designs.
“Kitalya is considered a no escape facility with over six layers of security, which include among others multiple watchtowers, over 100 CCTV camera points and a control room with 24-hour onsite and offsite surveillance,” he said.
Mr Julius Arnold Tayebwa, a Senior Civil Engineer who has been heading the contact management team from the ministry of works and transport said that everything has been built to required standards.
Dr Byabashaija noted that before the facility receives the first inmate, several officers including Bitaliwo Onesmus who is the appointed officer in charge of the facility will be taken to different countries to benchmark on how such facilities are run.
“As soon as the benchmark and full equipping of the facility is done, all long term servicing convicts will be transferred to Kitalya.”
JLOS Senior Technical Advisor Rachel Odoi Musoke, noted that the facility focuses more on human rights with its industry workshops and educational facilities underscoring International collections' goal to rehabilitate prisoners and make them better citizens. To Odoi, Kitalya’s design features speak for themselves.
“Kitalya is a landmark project which focuses on human rights, giving the country confidence to do better facilities. Its establishment marks the beginning of the end of congestion in prisons,” she said.