The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget and National Patrimony has advised Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) to engage inmates into productive work, especially in relation to agriculture so as to meet their food needs and save government Rwf 16 million per day spent on their feeding.
Parliament gave the advice yesterday as the Ministry of Justice and institutions under its supervision presented the draft budget for 2017/2018 financial year.
The chairperson of Standing Committee on Budget and National Patrimony, Mukayuhi Rwaka Constance, noted that once inmates become productive and prisons get to be self-food sustaining, much financial burden on the government budget will be relieved.
“I think there was a body created to supply food to inmates yet they (inmates) are supposed to be growing enough food for their consumption and surplus for sale,” she said.
The Commissioner General of RCS, CGP George Rwigamba said they have adopted policies of making inmates productive.
“We have existing policies where inmates are involved in income generating activities. A department in charge of production is operating. It has begun with agriculture. We have construction activities while a total of 4500 inmates are carrying community service (TIG),”he said.
CGP Rwigamba said inmates’ productivity should not be limited to agriculture because existing land is inadequate. According to statistics from RCS, beans and maize grown by inmates from one agricultural season can only feed them for 45 days.
The Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye said a new system of making inmates productive is set to be introduced where they will be employed in works related to their professions.
He pointed out an example where an inmate can teach children from scratch till they complete studies.
He noted that 30% of buildings in prisons are constructed by inmates. Signing and executing building and construction agreements with districts are among other activities by inmates which generated over Rwf 700 billion in 2016.
Inmates also make soaps used in various prisons in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s prisons accommodate over 59,000 inmates requiring an annual budget of Rwf 6 billion.