Following the MUBS graduation in the morning, we traveled to Luzira prison, which is located on the shores of Lake Victoria. The prison is a maximum-security prison that has a capacity of 20,000 inmates. It has four sections, and while there we spent time in the Upper Prison where inmates spend a minimum of 10 years behind bars. All of the prisoners are male, and they are separated by the color of uniforms they wear. A yellow uniform means that prisoner has a defined sentence, whereas a white uniform means that prisoner is on death row. Even though this is a place housing some of Uganda’s worst criminals, they have teamed up with MUBS to offer a program that gives inmates a chance to earn a degree and become productive members of society upon release.
The program offers eligible prisoners education from primary school up to bachelor’s degrees in multiple subjects offered through MUBS. Even the most basic subjects are taught, and because of this most prisoners are eligible. The only prisoners who aren’t eligible are those who have a life sentence, have committed political crimes, and terrorists. Prisoners who are on death row are eligible for the programs because it is a way to show the judge that they are trying to become a productive member of society, and it could possibly lower their sentence. The director of this program is Biryomumaisho Anatoli Owakubaruho, and he serves as the head teacher, and welfare and rehabilitation officer at the Upper Prison. It is fitting that he runs the program because his name is associated with a positive outlook, and with rays of hope. By helping the prisoners with schooling he is giving them a positive outlook on the future after jail.
Prior to attending the prison I was nervous about what I would see there, and if it was even safe. After I attended I couldn’t have been more wrong about the assumptions I made before hand. The inmates were kind, respectful, and genuinely appreciated us coming. Even though many of the people we interacted with today were guilty of serious crimes, I believe in second chances and I hope the programs MUBS offers through the prison make it possible for these inmates to live a successful life after prison.
Questions: How do you think the programs offered at the Luzira Prison affect the recidivism rates? Do you think the recidivism rate is higher in American prisons? Did what you think the prison would look like end up being what it actually was? If not, what was different?