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Uganda meeting examines promising practices in rehabilitating and reintegrating of prisoners, including violent extremist ones 

Entebbe (Uganda) 21 October 2021. Uganda Prison Services (UPS) high ranking officials in charge of social rehabilitation and reintegration services, representatives from the academia, civil society organisations, the private sector and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have identified promising practices in integrating rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners, including Violent Extremist Prisoners during a three-day roundtable consultation meeting (19-21 October 2021) at Entebbe. 

The meeting was addressed by the Under Secretary General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), Mr. Vladimir Voronokov It was officially opened by the Uganda Prisons Service Commissioner General, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija, who expressed appreciation to the Preventing the Spread of Violent Extremism in the Prison Context programme for increasing the capacity of Prisons Service staff counter and prevent radicalisation of prisoners by violent extremist ones.

Under the guidance of various UNODC experts, most of them speaking virtually to over 30 participants at Admas Grand Hotel in Entebbe, the meeting considered good prison practices from detention to reintegration back into communities, factors that facilitate disengagement of violent extremist prisoners, rehabilitation and reintegration lessons from Uganda Prisons Service, and gender dimensions of violent extremist women in prison.

Participant also looked at community-based reintegration practices by civil society organisations, the role of the private sector in reintegration of former extremist violent prisoners, use of assessment to establish and address the rehabilitation and reintegration needs of violent extremist prisoners, and why and how to address violent extremism ideology.

Ms. Karin Boven, the Netherlands Ambassador in Uganda, speaking on behalf of one the donors, the Netherlands government, said that prisons provide an opportunity for violent prisoners to disengage from extremism if managed properly thus making prison a catalyst for positive change.

Ms. Valerie Lebaux, the UNODC Chief of the Justice Section addressed the meeting virtually and said that most of the problems that manifest in prisons sprout from deficiencies in the criminal justice system that contribute to overcrowding in prisons.

The meeting ended with some proposed ideas to be included in a detailed roadmap for an integrated approach to rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners, including violent extremist ones to be finalised later.

Ms. Sharon Nyambe, the Head of Office, UNODC in Uganda said that the roundtable meeting was one component of the supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalisation to violence in the prison context funded by the EU, Netherlands government and UNOCT and implemented by the UNODC in collaboration with the United Nations Centre of Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT) and the support of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED).

For further inquiries:

Ms. Sharon Lesa Nyambe-

Head of Office, UNODC Programme Office of Uganda