IBANDA. The deputy Inspector General of Government, Ms Mariam Mutonyi, has tasked government prison authorities to explain why convicts hired by private citizens are overloaded with work but are paid little for it.
Speaking to staff at Nyabuhikye Prisons Farm in Ibanda District on Tuesday, Ms Mutonyi said she has received complaints that prisoners hired to work in gardens of private farmers and schools for a whole day are paid only Sh500 per person.
“Frequent reports indicate low payments and we need to address the challenges of standards because they are paid little compared to the volume of work. It has become a concern to the government that the money should be increased,” Ms Mutonyi said.
She noted that most times prisoners walk long distances and have to work from morning to evening while ordinary labourers who work less hours are paid between Shs7,000 and Shs10,000 per day.
Ms Mutonyi also demanded to have a look at the documents and asked if the inmates receive the money after serving their sentences.
However, Mr Simon Peter Alunyu, the deputy OC prison, claimed his boss, who was not around, had the keys to offices where the documents are kept.
Mr Alunyu said the payment for prisoners labour is stipulated in the laws. “According to the Uganda Prisons Service laws, pay for prisoners is only Shs500 when they go to work outside prison. When they are doing prison work, they are paid Shs150 only, to buy soap and sugar,” he said.
The deputy IGG advised prisons staff to store some of their excess harvest as one way of ensuring food security.
She also wondered while some female inmates were looking after babies, urging the prisons authorities to trace their fathers or next of kin to take the toddlers home.