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Uganda Develops Prisoner Classification Framework

Kampala, 25 January 2020 – The Uganda Prisons Service actively engaged in the implementation of the joint global programme on “Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons” and hosted a workshop on the development of a comprehensive prisoner classification system in Kampala, Uganda.

The joint programme is implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) in coordination with the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED) and co-funded by the European Union, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

As part of the national effort to counter violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations, the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) has increasingly focused on developing more effective strategies to reduce the appeal of terrorism and limit the pool of potential recruits in prisons. The UPS hosted a workshop on the development of Prisoner Classification Framework (21-23 January 2020, Kampala) tailored to the Ugandan context.

During the opening remarks Mr. Wilson Francis Magomu, Commissioner of Prisons Custodial Duties, Safety and Security for the Uganda Prisons Service emphasized that “prisoner classification has a direct impact on many aspects of prison management, including the safety and security of prisoners, prison staff and the general public, the humane custody of prisoners and the ability to individualize case and sentence planning”. 

“The proper risk assessment of prisoners is one of the fundamental components of good prison management policies, it enables the efficient use of resources, individualization of sentences, protection of the public and upholding the human rights of the prisoners,” stated Ambassador of the Netherlands to Uganda, Mr. Henk Jan Bakker. He mentioned that “investment made in developing and implementing effective evidence-based instruments can also enable prospects of getting violent extremist prisoners to disengage.” Ambassador Henk Jan Bakker reiterated the commitment of the Netherlands to enhance resilience of vulnerable young people against violent extremism and radicalization to violence”.

The Uganda context has prison regulations that identify classes of prisoners and the ability to transfer between classes, however, it is necessary to perform risk assessment that are informed by a sophisticated understanding of the characteristics of any organization to which the violent extremists prisoners belong to and their motivation.

Ms. Sharon Nyambe, UNODC Programme Coordinator, noted that “successful development, implementation and management of a prisoner classification system is dependent of several infrastructural requirements, particularly those related to physical structure of prisons, policies and guidelines, staff resources and an established system of documentation and record keeping”. She further commended the Uganda Prisons Service’s commitment to addressing manifestations of violent extremism in prison settings by understanding underlying conditions conducive to terrorism and formulating clear steps to counter violent extremist ideologies in prison settings.


For further information

Global Initiative on the management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence

Key principles and recommendations for the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons

UNODC Handbook on the Management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence