Principal Judge to Courts: Stop Jailing Debtors

The Principle Judge Yorokamu Bamwiine has asked magistrates in lower courts to cease sentencing debtors to long jail terms.

Convicts of such minor cases he said were unnecessarily contributing to the menace of overcrowding in prisons.

Justice Bamwine was on Wednesday astounded by the number of debtors locked up at Nyamushekyera Prison in Bushenyi district where he was launching the plea-bargaining training program.

Debtors according to the Principle Judge, mind can sell their property and refund the complainant instead, doctor without having to be sent to prison.

A jail sentence for a debtor he said, case benefits neither the creditor, nor the debtor.

Those that are sent on remand, Bamwiine advised, should be sent a notice if they have something that can be sold to obtain the money they owe.

Bamwiine said he was shocked to find up to 49 debtors, 37 men and 12 women in such a small prison in Bushenyi.

The Prison facility currently has a total of 978 prisoners, 913 males and 65 females.

Some of the inmates serving their terms told the Principle Judge that most times because of the circumstances and obscene amounts of money demanded from them by court bailiffs, they are compelled to opt for the jail terms.

On the issue of long remands, Bamwiine directed magistrates to always dismiss cases where state fails to bring to court witnesses.


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