Skip to main content

Projet: Emission Club de la Presse: "Urubuga rw’Itangazamakuru "

Activité:Talk show ″Urubugarw'itangazamakuru″ (Club de la presse)


  • IPGL

Incomplete files, delays in prosecution push up overcrowd in prisons

A recent report by the National Human Rights Commission shows that by 2020- June 2021, prisons had been accommodating 76,099 people while their capacity is 61,301 people.

That's a rising figure every year, as in 2017 the number of inmates was 58,230. That means an increase of 30.6%.

In terms of prisons overcrowding, the highest is Muhanga Prison (238.8%), Gicumbi (161.8%), Rwamagana (151.1%), Rusizi (144.8%), Huye (138, 6%), Musanze (138.2%), Bugesera (132.1%), Rubavu (127.7%) and Ngoma (103.6%).

Human rights organizations now claim that the country's justice system priorities imprisonment over justice and correction. They say prosecution and investigative authorities rush to put people in prisons which leads to overpopulation in prisons.

“Putting people in prisons seems to be the number one priority for institutions such as the Rwanda Investigation Bureau and the police...” said Emmanuel Safari, executive secretary of CLADHO.

"For example, our law stipulates that a person may be sentenced to alternative like community works instead of imprisonment.” He added

Nabahire Anastase, Director General of the Justice Sector Coordination in MINIJUST, said the government is concerned about the problem of overcrowding in prisons and hope that there would be a national policy that would reduce that overcrowding, a policy that would focus on correction rather than punishment. He insists that the expansion of prisons is not part of the government's plan.

He said the policy would be approved by the Cabinet soon. It will introduce electronic ankle monitors for those who are accused of committing crimes, among others., while others are given alternative works for public interest but the government will be more likely engaged in crime prevention campaigns.

He acknowledged that the number of inmates had increased over the years, "due to the development of technology and expansion of cities," adding that crime reporting had also increased significantly.

On the issue of Muhanga Prison, which is found to have a density of 238%, Nabahire explained that the reason is that Muhanga is in the middle of the country and is surrounded by many courts.

He added that it would not be appropriate to detain a person away from the courthouse, and away from his or her family.

 Rwanda Correctional Services spokesperson SSP Pelly Uwera Gakwaya said there are currently 84,800 people in Rwandan prisons, of which five thousand are women and that in women's prisons / wings there is no overcrowding.

Regarding the effects of the overcrowding, SSP Uwera Gakwaya says it is bad for bedtime because the inmates' sleeping quarters are small enough and they have meals once a day (day time)

The audience reacted on this issue arguing the prosecution to not delay trials under pretext of further investigation.

“Most of cases prosecutors remand 30 days for investigation but it may take 300 days and suspects are denied bail.”  Said Jean Claude from Gasabo district

They also asked MINIJUST to work on transit centers which are also more overcrowded.

Government also was urged to adopt use of community work as another model of punishment.






Loading the player...