Prisons chief unhappy as Christmas directives leak on social media

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Dr. Johnson Byabashaija

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Dr. Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner General of the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS), has issued a stern warning to officers regarding social media misconduct following the premature leak of Christmas standby class one directives.

Originally slated for official release on Monday, the orders, effective from December 15, 2023, were intended for distribution to all regional, division, and station prison commanders, as well as the media.

Dr. Byabashaija’s Christmas directives include the suspension of hired labor services, cancellation of all staff annual leaves, a halt on outsiders’ visitation to prisons, and specific instructions for commanders to regulate the admission of prisoners to external health facilities.

In response to the leak, Dr. Byabashaija, conveyed through Frank Baine, the Prison’s Spokesperson, has cautioned all UPS staff against the misuse of social media and emphasized that stringent actions will be taken against any offenders.

“The Commissioner General, UPS has issued a directive to all staff on misuse of social media directing them to desist from posting unprofessional photos and videos while on duty. Any culprit to this act will be subjected to prison disciplinary procedures as stipulated in the prison standing orders,” stated Baine.

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In light of Christmas security concerns, Dr. Byabashaija has instructed commanders to bolster prison security, intelligence, and coordination with other security agencies while maintaining vigilance. Despite the ban on annual leave, staff with exceptional cases are to be handled by regional commanders.

While prisoner visitations are suspended, provisions have been made for the delivery of prisoners’ items at the prison gate. Dr. Byabashaija’s directives also call for a two-shift staff deployment to enhance numbers and presence, with officers in charge mandated to be present in their units at all times and promptly address prisoners’ and staff complaints.

“Prisoner visitations are suspended. However, prisoners’ items can be delivered at the prison gate. Adapt a two-shift staff deployment to increase numbers and presence. Officers in charge must be present in their units at all times and attend to prisoners and staff complaints as and when they raise,” Dr. Byabashaija’s Christmas directives read in part.

To prevent further social media misuse and document leaks, Dr. Byabashaija has mandated commanders to ensure strict compliance with guidelines and provide appropriate guidance to the staff under their command.