3500 Cases Heard Under Plea Bargain

1104 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine says that the programme, since its launch two years ago, has proved to be cost effective and helped to de-congest prisons. Patrick Masiga Makokha, the Regional Prisons Commander for South Eastern Region, says that the programme is needed to de-congest the prison. He notes that Jinja Main Prison was constructed in 1930 with a capacity of 336 inmates. However, the facility now has over 1,000 inmates.

The judiciary heard over 3,500 cases by end of December 2016 through the 'plea bargain' which allows a suspect to plead guilty in exchange for a lenient sentence. 

Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine says that the programme, since its launch two years ago, has proved to be cost effective and helped to de-congest prisons.

Justice Bamwine notes that these cases have been heard across the country in over 35 sessions. He adds that during each plea bargain session where at least 100 cases are heard, government spends up to 40 million Shillings. 

Justice Bamwine says the arrangement has also saved the government over two billion Shillings that would have been spent in the usual court processes.

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Bamwine was on Wednesday interacting with the media after a closed door meeting with inmates of Kirinya Prisons and Jinja Main Prison about the plea bargaining process and how it benefits them.

He said that inmates of both prisons who have gone through this programme challenged the process citing delayed appeals, inmates being given sentences that they did not bargain for, misplaced files and delayed justice.

He however noted that although the arrangement can help solve most of these challenges in courts, judiciary lacks enough man power to work effectively.

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Patrick Masiga Makokha, the Regional Prisons Commander for South Eastern Region, says that the programme is needed to  de-congest the prison. He notes that Jinja Main Prison was constructed in 1930 with a capacity of 336 inmates. However, the facility now has over 1,000 inmates.

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The programme is aimed at reducing case backlog in courts and congestion in prisons.

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).