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MPs Demand Increased Pay for Prisoners Labour

A payment scale by the Uganda Prisons service offers skilled prisoners a payment of 1,398 Shillings up from 500 shillings, semi-skilled prisoners are to be given 699 Shillings from 250 Shillings, while non-skilled inmates will get 280 Shillings up from 100 shillings per day. Gratuity for the inmates was also increased from 3,000 to 8,386 Shillings.
Prisoners at work

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Members of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament have asked the government to review the amount of money paid to prisoners for their labour. 

A payment scale by the Uganda Prisons service offers skilled prisoners a payment of 1,398 Shillings up from 500 shillings, semi-skilled prisoners are to be given 699 Shillings from 250 Shillings, while non-skilled inmates will get 280 Shillings up from 100 shillings per day. Gratuity for the inmates was also increased from 3,000 to 8,386 Shillings. 

The rates were agreed upon after seeking guidance from the Uganda Bureau of Standards (UBOS) on the appropriate rates for the prisoners earning scheme. However, Members of parliament say that the amount paid to prisoners is still meagre compared to the standard of living and the amount of energy used especially while working on farms.  

The MPs argue that considering that even while in jail, some prisoners continue to support their families, the rates need to be revised upwards to enable them to earn decently.  This is contained in a report tabled by Jennifer Egunyu, the Human Rights Committee Chairperson.

Egunyu argued that the compulsory nature of labour which perpetrates exploitation and inhumane degrading conditions that the detainees are exposed to should also need to be addressed. 

Nwoya woman MP Lilly Adong reechoed that the prisons service needs to give the inmates a good amount of money, especially for services offered to private individuals, where the service also charges a higher rate.     

//Cue in; “I really say...  

Cue out…from this convict.”//    

But rank Baine, the Spokesperson Uganda Prisons Service said that prisoners have been getting as low as 100 shillings, and the new proposal of the lowest at 280 shillings should first be tested before it can be reviewed.

Baine says they made the recommendation to address this meagre pay for labour years back but it has only been approved now. “You do not expect us to review these rates when we have just had approval from Parliament, we should first test this to see if it works or not,” Baine told URN in a phone interview.

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