MUSANZE - Inmates at Ruhengeri Central Prison have appealed to government to consider allowing youth who are the majority of the facility’s population, to serve part or their sentences through community work instead of keeping them idle in jail.
The community work is commonly subscribed to confessed Genocide convicts under the programme known as Travaux d’Intérêts Généraux (TIG).
They raised the issue Tuesday during a visit by a delegation of senators from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, who were there to assess the implementation of the law regarding Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS).
The law is in line of the country’s quest to migrate from the penal to correctional system.
The five senators, led by Jean Damascène Bizimana, heard a couple of complaints from the prisoners, including delays to appear before court and getting discharge letters after acquittal.
Ruhengeri Prison, which is commonly known as 1935, has over 2,300 inmates, with 1904 already convicted of various crimes, 474 waiting for trial. 781 are serving Genocide related sentences.
The prisoners also requested that the elderly and sick inmates be considered for conditional release.
“There is a problem of lack of communication, especially on the procedure, the rules for appealing, the time for re-trials, this has to be addressed by the legal officers in the prison,’’ Bizimana said, responding to the complaints.
The Senators also visited Cyabingo Sector, where TIG convicts are building terraces as part of their sentences.
Bizimana said that the issue of prisoners who escape from TIG work camps, should be blamed on the officials who manage such sites, and called for good communication between the prisoner wardens and the prisoners.
Prosper Mugororotsi, the Director of the facility, announced that some of the prisoners will be transferred to Nyakiliba prison in Rubavu once it is completed, in order to decongest the cells.
The senators included Penelop Kantarama, Seth Kamanzi, Tedy Gacinya, and Agnes Mukabaramba.