RCS to tightened security in prisons

Following rising cases of jailbreak, Rwanda Correction Services (RCS), has tightened measures in order to avert the trend.

Hillary Sengabo, RCS Spokesperson, told The New Times that among the measures being deployed include installing CCTV cameras, raise the height of prison fences as well as installing towers on all prisons.

Three inmates were on Wednesday shot dead while attempting to escape from the Huye based prison. 

Others were rearrested during the operation, according to RCS officials.

RCS says that it also plans to beef up its team with new prison officers in order to deal with what it calls the high number of inmates.

RCS employs 1,700 prison wardens to watch over 66, 000 inmates.

This means that a prison warden deals with nearly 39 inmates. RCS says it targets a ratio of at least 20 inmates per prison warden.

“Our target is to recruit more prison wardens,” Sengabo said.

Works on expanding fences on Nyarugugenge, Nyagatare and Rwamagana prisons has already commenced.

“We are facing budget constraints but we will keep working on it to ensure that our prisons are safe and that we close all gaps for inmates to escape,” he said. “We also want to carry out more awareness and mobilisation.”

In 2013 four men escaped from Huye prison by digging a hole through one of the walls.

Sengabo said that on Thursday this week prison and district officials held a meeting to assure the inmates of their security and safety while reminding them to avoid any attempt that endanger their lives.

RCS official figures show that in 2017 alone 25 inmates escaped while rearrested and detained.

During the Wednesday incident inmates attempted to escape by jumping over the prison fence.

“The inmates were shot as they attempted to escape. They actually used ropes to jump over the prison fence and when wardens on duty tried to stop them by shooting in the air, the inmates resisted,” Sengabo said.

In January last year, one terror convict who was serving life sentence was shot dead while attempting to escape from Nyanza prison.

Three other inmates including former journalist, Cassien Ntamuhanga, escaped Mpanga prison. One of them re-arrested.