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Uganda Prisons to phase out ‘bucket toilets’

Uganda Prisons will be rid of the dehumanizing ‘night soil bucket’ system in the next two years as part of a grand scheme to improve hygiene in reformatories.

The night soil bucket system is a policy in Ugandan jails which sees inmates use a bucket to relieve themselves at night.

This system has been the object of excoriation in a number of reports by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) for being “unhygienic and dehumanizing.”

Given the congestion in Ugandan prisons, the stench that comes from having a bucket full of faecal matter in an overcrowded jail compartment, UHRC contends, turns prisons into a breeding centre for diseases.

However, the night soil bucket system, according to the Spokesperson of Uganda Prison Service (UPS), Frank Baine, will be history “by latest 2016.”

“We have managed to rid many prisons of the bucket system. We currently have about 40 prisons that are still using the system out of 239 prisons in the country,” Baine told New Vision on Saturday.


“We are using eco-sun in places where there is no running water,” Baine noted, revealing that all the remaining prisons yet to do away with the ‘bucket toilets’ are prisons that were formerly under the ambit of local governments.

Baine was responding to recommendations by the defence and internal affairs committee of parliament about the need to provide funds in the current financial year to address the problem of bucket toilets in jails.

Legislators contend that sh30m per prison will be enough to provide modern lavatories and thus reduce the spectre of disease outbreaks in insalubrious jails.

On recommendations of parliament, UPS has strived to improve hygiene of inmates. One of the fruits of these recommendations is the current policy of providing all female prisoners with sanitary towels.

By Moses Walubiri, The New Vision

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