MPs want prison terms slashed

As MPs continue to debate clauses in the Penal Code, they have, once again, argued that long prison sentences handed to criminals denies them a chance to  change for the better, and return to normal life.The Penal Code was sent back to the lower chamber of parliament to adopt some of the amendments proposed by the Senate, before it can be forwarded for promulgation.

As MPs continue to debate clauses in the Penal Code, they have, once again, argued that long prison sentences handed to criminals denies them a chance to  change for the better, and return to normal life.

The Penal Code was sent back to the lower chamber of parliament to adopt some of the amendments proposed by the Senate, before it can be forwarded for promulgation.

The new instrument prescribes the general reduction of prison sentences but an increase in the amount fines imposed on various infractions.

The lawmakers further pointed out that it is costly for the government to cater for prisoners.

The amendments were presented to parliament by Alfred Kayiranga Rwasa, the chairperson of the standing committee on political affairs.

Kayiranga listed six scenarios as well as categories in which prison terms will be reduced.

With the new proposal, crimes that were punishable with sentences of between 20 and 25 years will instead be reduced to 15 - 20 years, while those of 15-20 years, will lowered to 10-15 years.

Kayiranga further pointed out that while life sentences for crimes that result in death will remain, in some cases the sentence may be reduced to between 20 and 25 years.

He, however, added that the committee recommended that prison terms be increased for crimes that hamper national sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Kayiranga pointed out that his committee did not agree with amendments proposed by the senate in 43 articles. The penal code has 777 articles.

The House decided that a joint-committee comprised of members from both houses will re-examine 100 articles, including the 43 contentious ones.

Parliament has now spent close to a year amending the penal code.

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