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Uganda Prisons Service and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launch three publications on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in the Prison context in Uganda

Kampala. 1 December 2021.  Uganda Prisons Service Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija launching PCVE handbooks

On 1st December 2021, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in Uganda officially handed over three newly developed publications on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in the Prison context to the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS), during a high level meeting between UNODC and the Uganda Prisons Service. The high-level meeting was convened to update Senior Management of the Uganda Prisons Service on key achievements in the implementation of Global Joint Initiative "Supporting the management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons" in Uganda.

While officiating at the event, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner General of Prisons, thanked officials of the Uganda Prisons Service for partnering with UNODC in the development of the three publications namely: The Basic Training Module on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Prison Settings, The Bespoke Course on “Essentials in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Prison Settings”, and The Prisoner Classification Framework. The Commissioner General said the tools developed over the past one year will meaningfully contribute to the management of violent extremist prisoners, including their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. 

Ms. Vera Tkachenko, the UNODC Global Coordinator for the Global Joint Initiative, thanked Dr. Byabashaija for convening the meeting with the Senior Management team of Uganda Prisons Service. “As we come to the close of the year, it is a good time to reflect on what has been done, what we have managed to achieve together in partnership and what we plan to do in the years to come,” she said. Ms. Tkachenko, further outlined the overall UNODC Prison Reform agenda aimed at enhancing Prison Management, promoting humane custody of prisoners and rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.  Ms. Tkachenko stressed, “What we see in many countries is that poor prisons conditions, overcrowding, understaffing and lack of financial and human resources make life difficult for prison officials and it is harder for them to effectively manage violent extremist prisoners”. She also made reference to the UN Security Council Resolution adopted in 2017 that recognized prisons as having potential to become incubators for terrorist recruitment. That is why it is important for prison staff to understand the process of radicalization as there are many different pathways to extremism.  

The Commissioner General of Prisons explained that in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in and around Kampala in October and November 2021, the prisons service expects to receive an increased number of suspects, some who are already in custody. He further acknowledged that the Global Joint Initiative is timely because it strives to prepare the Prisons Service with the capacity to manage violent extremist prisoners and the general prison population.

Ms. Sharon Nyambe, UNODC Head of Office in Uganda emphasized that the three publications which were developed in partnership with UPS will build the capacity and knowledge of new recruits and in-serving prisons staff in preventing and countering violent extremism in the prison context. The modules developed will be integrated within the basic training curriculum of the Prison Academy and Training School of the Uganda Prisons Service. 

“We recently concluded and finalized the prisoner assessment and classification tools which will support and aid prisoner assessment and classification within the prison service,” Ms. Nyambe said. “We are currently working closely to pilot these tools in six facilities, namely; Luzira Upper Maximum, Luzira Female Maximum, Jinja Main, Kitalya Mini Max, Kakiika Main and Masaka Main Prisons.  She further stated that UNODC is working closely with the Uganda Prisons Service to ensure gradual cascading of these tools to all regions of the country. 


UNODC Global Coordinator for PCVE in Prisons, Ms. Vera Tkachenko,  launching PCVE handbooks in Uganda