Luzira Maximum Security Prison appeared to be very different than a maximum security prison within the United States. From simple observations, the prisoners and guards have a positive and interactive relationship with each other that stems more from friendship than an authoritarian relationship. The prisoners, although some have committed heinous crimes, are allowed freedom to roam around within the complex. A difference that one was unable to miss was the rehabilitation efforts of the prison. Luzira, being the largest prison in Uganda and the largest prison in Eastern Africa for some time, has seemingly done well with training some prisoners to perform vocational traits or receive education; even education up to a college degree or certificate through the prison's partnership with MUBS. A poster seen in the assistant officer's office read "crush the crime, not the criminal" reenforces the policy of rehabilitating criminals so they are better and involved citizens when they renter society. It may be perceived as sustainable in some sense to be able to reintegrate inmates successfully into society. The prison also conducts ways to sustainably support itself through economics. The prisoners make money when they work, the money is put into the prison bank where they may use it for things they need within the prison. If there is money left over when the prisoner gets out, he may take that money with him. The prison generates money for itself by making chairs and other furniture in the carpenter sector. It sells the furniture to schools and businesses within the country. In the sewing and tailor sector, the inmates make prisoner and guard uniforms for the whole country, as well as Ugandan flags, flags for the president's car, and other items. Then they sell these to the buyers, which brings profit into the prison. One of the largest struggles the prison deals with is overcrowding and understaffing. The prison's capacity is 600 inmates, currently it has over 3,000 inmates, with only 300 guards. Another major challenge facing the prison is that most of the inmates have not yet received a trial. From an outsiders perspective, the prison seems to be somewhat tolerable, but behind the curtains it may be a different story.
Questions for Drake/MUBS Students:
In what ways could the prison become more sustainable economically? Is paying the prisons very little exploiting them? Do you agree with the head officer that it is in the best interest of the prisoners to work?
Do you think the prison is environmentally sustainable through the planting and gardening within the prison? What parts may not be environmentally friendly? Why?
What do you think about the relationships between the prisoners and the guards? During the Human Rights visit Shelia talked a lot about torture or abuse, do you think that occurs in the prison? What is your opinion on the inmates on death row not knowing when they will die?
What is your opinion on the prisoners being there without first receiving a trial? What are ways this problem can be fixed?