In a recent statement, Morris Kizito, the director of Mission After Custody (MAC), has called upon the Ugandan government to establish resettlement facilities for former convicts in a bid to decrease crime rates across the nation.
Kizito highlights that the absence of suitable housing for ex-inmates has played a significant role in the increasing crime rates in Uganda. He emphasizes that once released, some former prisoners struggle to find stability in their lives, often unable to locate their relatives.
“These individuals face numerous challenges that compel them to resort to criminal activities immediately after their release,” Kizito explains.
He points out that prisoners often form connections while incarcerated and receive essential amenities such as food, medical care, and education. Many of them are unable to afford these necessities once they rejoin society.
Kizito stresses that the ex-convicts often feel abandoned by their communities, which leads them back into a life of crime as a means of survival. He warns of a high likelihood of them becoming involved with criminal gangs and ultimately returning to prison.
Statistics from a research study conducted five years ago indicate that the Uganda Prisons Service had a re-offending rate of 40%. This means that out of every 100 released inmates, 40 would end up back in prison within a year. Additionally, a 2009 report from the Uganda Police Force highlighted that many individuals released from prison were treated as repeat offenders.
Currently, MAC has provided shelter for over 500 homeless individuals. Kizito raises a poignant question, “In case they die, where will I bury them?”
To combat the high re-offending rate, Kizito recommends that the Ministry of Internal Affairs construct resettlement homes for former prisoners. Furthermore, he suggests that the ministry allocate land for income-generating projects to equip ex-prisoners with essential skills for a better life after their release.