Uganda Prison Services has only 80 social workers serving within the 249 prison units
Government should train more social workers to ensure prisoners receive adequate counseling and guidance in order to reduce the re-offending rate within prisons
According to Ronald Rwankangi the Executive Director Advance Afrika, the current number of social workers in place is not enough to cater for the increasing prison population which calls for immediate intervention.
“With a prison population of over 50,000 inmates, Uganda Prison Services has only 80 social workers serving within the 249 prison units which calls for immediate intervention to ensure prisoners benefit from the required services,”- Rwankangi.
Rwankangi observes that the social workers in place are undersized to handle the increasing inmate population yet they play such a vital role towards supportive peace and reconciliation between inmates and the people they offended.
“Unfortunately, some prisoners complete their sentence therefore, require re-integration but due to inadequate social workers, inmates do not get the required counseling and guidance programs to support them upon discharge,” Rwankangi observed.
Social workers make a vital contribution towards the lives of offenders, ex-offenders and their families. They help to conduct individual counseling to inmates as well as enhance the rehabilitation of offenders for that reason reduce the re-offending rate within prisons.
They also play a big role towards ensuring that families remain together when a parent is in prison hence maintain bond amongst people in conflict with the law and their relatives.
Adams Hasiyo a senior Welfare and Rehabilitation Officer in Uganda Prison Services acknowledged the shortage of social workers noting that efforts were under way to improve the situation.
“Besides social workers, prison’s department lacks enough infrastructures like counseling wards where counseling would be done. It is a big set back because once these inmates are not counseled, they can never be transformed,” Hasiyo noted.