Prisons Act, 2006
Act 17 of 2006
- Published in Uganda Gazette no. 42 on 14 July 2006
- Assented to on 24 May 2006
- Commenced on 14 July 2006
- [This is the version of this document from 14 July 2006.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Prisons Act, 2006.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context requires—“aggravated prison offence” means an offence declared to be such by rules made under this Act;“appellant prisoner” means a convicted prisoner who is detained in a prison as a result of a conviction which is the subject matter of an appeal, notice of which has been accepted but the decision in regard to which has not been given but does not mean a convicted prisoner who has made an election under the provisions of section 40(5) of the Criminal Procedure Code Act;“civil prisoner” means an indebted person entitled to special treatment;“Commissioner General” means the Commissioner General of Prisons;“convicted prisoner” means a prisoner under a sentence of a court or court-martial;“court” means any court or authority entitled to pass a sentence in a criminal case or to order a person to be detained in custody in any case;“currency point” represents the amount in Uganda Shillings prescribed in the First Schedule to this Act;“Deputy Commissioner General” means the Deputy Commissioner General of Prisons;“judge” means a judge of the High Court or higher court;“junior prison officer” means a prison officer of a class declared by the Minister to be a junior prison officer;“justice of peace” means a justice of the peace appointed under the Justices of the Peace Act;“lock-up” means any place or building, maintained by the administration of a district or a police force, where arrested persons are temporarily detained, pending production in court;“magistrate” means a magistrate presiding over a court;“medical officer” means either the district director of health or a medical officer in the district or area in which the prison is situated or, in his or her absence, any registered or licensed Government medical practitioner or the medical officer appointed to a prison if a medical officer has not been appointed;“Minister” means the minister responsible for internal affairs and includes the Minister of State;“minor prison offence” means an offence committed by a prisoner and declared to be such by rules made under this Act;“officer in charge” means a prison officer appointed by the Commissioner General to be in charge of a prison;“prison” means a prison established under this Act;“prison officer” means member of the Prisons Service of whatever rank;“prisoner” means a person duly committed to custody under the writ, warrant or order of a court exercising criminal jurisdiction or by order of a court-martial;“prohibited article” means an article the introduction or removal of which into or out of a prison is prohibited by this Act or by any rules made under this Act;“senior prison officer” means a prison officer of a class declared by the Minister to be a senior prison officer;“Service” means the Uganda Prisons Service.
Part II – Establishment, functions and administration
3. Composition of the Prisons ServiceThe Uganda Prisons Service established by article 215 of the Constitution shall consist of—
4. Objective of the Prisons Service
5. Functions of the ServiceThe functions of the Service shall be—
6. Financing of the Service
7. Powers of the Commissioner General
8. Welfare of staff and prisonersThe Service shall be provided with adequate resources and facilities to cater for the staff and the prisoners.
9. Establishment of Prisons Authority
10. Functions of the Prisons Authority
11. Powers of the Prisons Authority
12. Power of the Prisons Authority to make rules
13. Establishment of the Prisons Council
14. Functions of the Prisons Council
15. Meetings of the Prisons Council
16. Regional Prisons Committees, their composition and functions
17. District Prisons Committees, their composition and functions
Part III – Appointments, promotions, recruitment, retirement and termination of appointments
18. Appointment of Commissioner General and Deputy Commissioner GeneralThe Commissioner General and Deputy Commissioner General shall be appointed by the President in accordance with article 216 of the Constitution.
19. Vacation of Commissioner General and Deputy Commissioner General’s Office
20. Appointment of prisons officers
22. Resignation by prisons officersSubject to section 21, a prison officer shall not terminate his or her service with the Service except with written permission of the appointing authority.
23. Conditions on termination of service
24. Service on contract
25. Employment of civilians in the Service
26. Appointment, powers and duties of medical officer
Part IV – Establishment of prisons
27. Declaration of prisons
28. Temporary prisons
29. Segregation of male and female prisonersExcept for the purpose of work or training, and only under strict supervision, male and female prisoners shall be kept apart and confined in separate prisons or separate parts of the same prison in such a manner as to prevent contact or communication between the sexes.
30. Officers in charge
31. Administrative divisions
32. Regional Prisons Commander
33. Functions of Regional Prisons Commander
34. District Prisons CommanderThe Commissioner General shall appoint a Senior Prison Officer as District Prisons Commander who shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as the Commissioner General may direct.
35. Security measuresThe Commissioner General shall determine the security measures applicable to prisons, and may determine different security measures in respect of different prisons.
Part V – General powers, duties and privileges of prison officers
36. General powers and duties of prison officers
37. Prison officers to exercise police powers
38. Prison officers to be assigned to any part of UgandaA prison officer may at any time be assigned by the Commissioner General to any part of Uganda for duty or to perform any function conferred upon or assigned to him or her under this Act.
39. Powers of search
40. Use of force or weapons by prison officers
41. Senior officers to check unlawful use of force or firearms
42. Circumstances under which a prison officer may use a firearm
43. Immunity of prison officers
44. Power to take photographs and fingerprints of prisoners
Part VI – Offences by prison officers
48. Inciting prison officers to desert
49. Assault by prison officers on another officer in rankA prison officer who assaults, threatens or insults any officer senior to him or her in the Service, when such senior officer is on duty or when the assault, threat or insult relates to or is consequent upon the discharge of duty by the officer so assaulted, threatened or insulted, commits of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding thirty currency points or to both.
50. Other offencesA prison officer or any other person employed in a prison who, outside the ambit of his or her functions under this Act and without the prior authorisation of the Commissioner General or the officer in charge—
51. Prison officers not to engage in dealings with prisoners
Part VII – Discipline of prison officers
52. Power of disciplinary control
53. Recommendation for dismissal of prison officers
54. Arrest for disciplinary offence
55. Place of confinement of offendersA prisons officer arrested in respect of an offence under this Part of this Act shall be informed as soon as is practicable of the nature of the offence and be confined in a guardroom or a cell provided for that purpose.
56. Criminal proceedings take precedence over disciplinary proceedingsIf criminal proceedings of a nature likely to warrant disciplinary proceedings are instituted against a person, no such disciplinary proceedings shall be taken until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings and the determination of any appeal arising from those proceedings.
Part VIII – Admission, treatment, control and discharge of prisoners
57. Rights of prisonersSubject to the Constitution and this Act, a prisoner is entitled to the following—
58. Admission of prisoners into prison
59. Admission of female prisoners with infants
60. Custody of female prisonersA female prisoner shall at all times during detention or imprisonment be under the care, custody and supervision of a female prison officer.
61. Particulars of prisoners to be recordedUpon admission of any person into custody, the officer in charge shall record or cause to be recorded in the relevant registers particulars of that person.
62. Search of prisoners on admission to custody
63. Prisoners to be in custody of the officer in charge
64. Custody of unconvicted prisoners
65. Certain prisoners to be treated as unconvicted prisoners
66. Release on bailWhere a person is arrested in respect of a criminal offence—
67. Prisoners required as witnesses
68. Prisoners to be subject to prison disciplineEvery prisoner shall be subject to prison discipline and to all laws, orders and directions relating to prisons and prisoners during the whole time of imprisonment whether he or she is within the premises of the prison or not.
69. Prisoners entitled to food
70. Prisoner to have exerciseEvery prisoner not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily.
71. Prisoners to make complaints to prison authorities
72. PetitionsAny prisoner may petition the President, but in exercising that right, shall address the President through the Commissioner General.
73. Removal of prisoners to other prisons
74. Treatment of prisoners who are insane or mentally abnormal
75. Removal of sick prisoners to hospital
76. Measures for security of prisoners in hospital
77. Right to information
78. Contact with outside world
79. Re-arrest of prisoner released erroneouslyIf the Commissioner General reasonably suspects that a prisoner has been released from a prison erroneously, he or she may issue a warrant for the re-arrest of that prisoner, which warrant may be executed by any police officer or prison officer and shall serve as authority for the detention of the prisoner in a prison.
80. Imprisonment in lieu of default of payment of fineAny imprisonment which is imposed by court in lieu or default of payment of a fine shall, prior to the expiration of the imprisonment thereof, terminate whenever that fine is paid or is lawfully levied under the process of any law authorising the levy of the fine, provided that courts shall be encouraged to pass community orders as alternative to imprisonment where an offender fails to pay a fine.
81. Restraint of a prisoner in a separate cell
82. Foreign prisoners
83. Release of prisoners on full remission
84. Remission of part of sentence of certain prisoners
85. Loss of remissionA prisoner may lose remission as a result of its forfeiture as a punishment for an offence against prison discipline and shall not earn any remission in respect of any period spent in hospital through his or her own fault or while malingering, or while undergoing confinement as a punishment in a separate cell.
86. Grounds for grant of further remission by the President
87. Habitual criminals to be released on licence only
88. Review of sentences
89. Release on parole
90. Social relations and after care
Part IX – Offences relating to prisons and prisoners
91. Punishment in different prisonsA punishment lawfully imposed may be carried out partly in one prison and partly in another.
92. Forfeiture of remission as punishmentNo prisoner shall be ordered to forfeit as a punishment more remission than he or she has earned.
93. Prescription of prison offences by the MinisterThe Minister may, in consultation with the Commissioner General, prescribe what acts or omissions constitute a prison offence.
94. Punishment by confinementPunishment by close confinement shall not be inflicted unless the medical officer has examined the prisoner and certified in writing that the prisoner is fit to sustain it and the medical officer may advise the officer in charge to terminate the punishment if he or she considers it necessary on grounds of physical or mental health.
95. Prisoners may be charged before court for offences against discipline
96. Prisoners right to defenceA prisoner shall not be punished for a prison offence until the prisoner has had an opportunity of hearing the charge against him or her and making a defence and where necessary and practicable, the prisoner shall be allowed the services of an interpreter.
97. Restriction on prisoner punishingA prison officer shall not employ a prisoner in the punishment of a fellow prisoner.
98. Registration of punishmentsThe officer in charge shall cause to be entered in a register to be open to the inspection of the visiting justices a record of all punishments imposed upon prisoners showing, in respect of each prisoner punished, the name, the nature of offence and the extent of punishment.
99. Punishment imposed on prisoner to be effected
100. Offence in relation to prisoner trafficking
101. Prohibited articles
102. Seizure of prohibited articlesWhether or not any criminal or disciplinary proceedings are commenced against any person, a prison officer may seize any article found to be unlawfully in a prison and the Commissioner General may order its confiscation and forfeiture.
104. Unlawful possession of prison articles
105. Incitement to mutiny or disobedienceA person who—
106. Harbouring prisonersA person who knowingly harbours a prisoner in a house, land or otherwise, or who knowingly employs any person under sentence of imprisonment and illegally at large, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
107. General penaltyA person who contravenes the provisions of this Act or any rules made under this Act, commits of an offence and if no penalty is specially provided, shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty currency points or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
108. Power to prosecute under other laws not affectedNothing in this Act shall exempt a prisoner or any other person from being prosecuted under any other law for the time being in force for any offence made punishable by this Act, or from being liable under any other law to any other or higher penalty or punishment than is provided for under such offence by this Act; but no person shall be tried twice for the same offence.
Part X – Visiting Justices, official visitors and ministers of religion
109. Inspection of prisons by visiting justices
110. Functions of visiting justices
111. Powers of Cabinet Ministers and Judges
112. Inspection by other bodies or groups
113. Appointment of religious ministers or priests to be prison ministers
Part XI – Miscellaneous
114. Prisons contracts committee
115. Prisons Welfare Fund
116. Transfer of local administration prisons
117. Lock-ups not classified as prisons
118. List of prisoners awaiting trialThe officer in charge of a prison shall, before the commencement of a session of the High Court, file in that court a list of every prisoner within that prison awaiting trial in that court, the date of his or her admission into prison and the authority for his or her detention and when last appeared in court.
119. Reward for apprehension of escaped prisoner
120. Rewards of gratuities for prison officers
121. Detention of prisoners sentenced abroad
122. Transfer of prisoners to other countries
123. Delegation of powers
125. Repeal of Cap. 304 and savings
History of this document
14 July 2006 this version
Published in Uganda Gazette number 42
24 May 2006
Cited documents 1
Documents citing this one 7
- Darlington Sakwa and Anor v The Electoral Commission and 44 Ors (Constitutional Petition No. 8 of 2006)  UGCC 3 (8 August 2006)
- Sundya Muhamudu and Others v Attorney General (Constitutional Petition No. 24 of 2019)  UGCC 7 (2 December 2022)
- Uganda Government Gazette dated 2007-05-18 number 23
- Uganda Government Gazette dated 2007-06-08 number 28
- Uganda Government Gazette dated 2012-10-25 number 59
- Uganda Government Gazette dated 2014-06-27 number 38
- Wesonga Kamana Edward v Electoral Commission and Anor (Mbale Election Petition No. 14 of 2006)  UGHC 42 (13 October 2006)