Authorities allows public to visit prisoners as COVID restrictions relax

The Commissioner-General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, has directed that the tough Covid rules inflicted after the onset of the pandemic be eased with immediate effect.

After the long break of the pandemic, several guidelines have been issued, including restriction of the public visits to prisoners were announced in order to help to control the spread of the virus from the wider public o prison centers.

The communication happened between the whole officers of the prison centers around the country. However, they did not relax the guidelines and did not fully open the economy and the reduction in COVID-19 infections.

“Resume normal prisons operations including court operations and visitation whereas prisoner relatives who want to meet the prisoners must have their fully vaccinated certificate against COVID-19 by presenting vaccination cards, said the directive Dr Byabashaija.

However, last time it was strictly banned for the prisoner and their families to meet with each other, whereas the prisoners who were still on remand were not allowed to courts of law but rather cases tried virtually via zoom link, but according to the latest development, this has all been eased.

Consequently, the prisoners will from today be present in court physically, not in any zoom meeting.

As per the directive, criminals will now be accepted in the various prison centres around the country.

According to the directive, the Admissions of the new prisoners has retreated to the old reception centers. The current COVID-19 treatment centers at Gulu Main prison, Jinja main prison, Kampala remand prison and the APP center remain operational.

Unlike before, where all criminals who had just been sent on remand were supposed to be taken to COVID-19 isolation centers like Kitalya, now this will change, and these will be remanded to the different prisons in the areas where the crimes have been committed.

For just showing you the rough example, those in Mukono will be remanded to Kawuga government prisons, those in Kampala will be remanded to Luzira, while those in Kasangati will be remanded to Kasangati government prison, among other prison centers.

However, there is still strict enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines like facemask is compulsory, social distancing, sanitization, especially during the court sessions, visitations and interactions with communities.

In the end, he stated that all measures would be reviewed from time to time.