The Commonwealth will support countries that subscribe to the body to establish alternative sentences.
This was announced by Jarvis Matiya, the legal advisor and head of justice and constitutional affairs division at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
He made the pledge at the closure of a three-day workshop to discuss alternative sentencing as well as strategies to discourage overcrowding in prison facilities.
According to Matiya, some prisons in the region are overcrowded, saying that the bloc would work with the concerned countries to decongest the facilities.
“We will provide technical assistance, support and advice based on specific requests that we receive from member countries. We will also promote the sharing of best practices on alternative sentencing,” he told The New Times.
“We believe that alternative sentencing will help in addressing the problem of prison overcrowding, assist in reintegration of offenders into their society and reduce chances of reoffending.”
He commended Rwanda for introducing some alternative mechanisms like the Gacaca courts and community work programme and urged other member countries to emulate the practice.
“Rwanda has been successful in this regard and that is why we decided to bring this workshop here for other countries to acquire experience,” said Matiya.
Frank Mwine Mugisha, the Principal State Attorney, pointed out that the new penal code would provide areas where the Commonwealth could extend its assistance.