On 6-8 November, PRI is co-hosting an Africa Alternatives to Imprisonment Conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in partnership with the Government Probation Departments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and our local NGO partners in the region.
Prison overcrowding is a serious problem in East Africa. The occupancy rate of prisons in Tanzania is over 124 per cent and in Kenya and Uganda it is over 200 per cent, fuelled partly by excessive use of pre-trial detention – approximately half of those detained at any one time are awaiting justice – and also by very short terms of imprisonment. A significant number of people, most of whom are living in poverty, are sentenced to prison for a few weeks or even days for offences such as using abusive language, operating a small business without a valid licence, the possession of illicit ‘liquor’ or simple theft.
However, in all three countries alternative sentencing options are available in the form of community service orders and in Kenya and Tanzania probation orders can also be imposed. In 2012, PRI started to work with probation and aftercare services and civil society partners to promote greater use of community service and other alternatives to imprisonment, including pre-trial measures, through the development of good practice, training and technical assistance.
To start the Conference, senior officials from Probation and Community Service departments from more than eight African countries will gather together for the first inaugural meeting of a new network to promote learning, good practice and common approaches for effective non-custodial sanctions in Africa.
Government probation officials will then be joined by representatives from civil society organisations, UN agencies and other stakeholders for the second half of the Conference, which will focus on alternatives to imprisonment in the East Africa region. Participants will review work to date in the region to promote non-custodial measures and in particular community service orders, share good practice and experience, and identify ways forward to further promote and implement alternatives to imprisonment in the region.
The Conference is being supported by the UK Government.
Find out more
Download the agenda for the inaugural meeting of the Africa Alternatives to Imprisonment Network
Download the agenda for the Africa Alternatives to Imprisonment Conference
Read an article about the conference in AllAfrica.com: ‘Tanzania: Out-of-Jail ‘Inmates’ to Save Sh9 Billion Annually’
Find out more about what PRI is doing in East Africa