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Our global prison system needs to change, and now. 

Prison populations continue to soar in much of the world, a 2018 report published by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research shows. Over 11 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, according to the latest edition of the World Prison Population List (WPPL). 

More than anything, the incarceration of people around the globe is part of a larger issue of discrimination, profit and a system that simply does not work. Within this epidemic of mass incarceration, the United States leads with 2.1 million of its citizens in prison. China right behind it is at 1.7 million incarcerated people and in the top ten are also Russia, India and Thailand. 

There are a host of reasons why the prison population around the world is swelling, but the privatisation of the prison system could be seen as a fundamental factor in this. We can no longer ignore this; we can no longer allow the imprisonment of our societies to be a financial gain for private companies' pockets. 

Welcome back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup. Stop the world's mass incarceration and fight for prison reform and justice. Now. 

Read. Debate: Engage. 

Protesters against mass incarceration and the privatisation of the prison system in the USA
The good

Prison reform is coming into the limelight 

While we may not agree with the approach, Kim Kardashian West has recently brought to the wide and public eye the issue of mass incarceration in the U.S. through her advocacy work. Indeed Kardashian West is far from being the first to draw public attention to the issue, which largely affects black and Latino communities, and her tight collaboration with Trump is more than questionable. However, her large public image has drawn the attention of millions of Americans. 

It's crucial to remember that far before the Kardashians made it their political journey to fight for prison reform, numerous activists have been and continue to advocate against the privatisation of prisons all around the world.

We must stay vigilant to campaigns and legislations that are pushing for a different pathway to criminal justice. 

Kim Kardashian West and Alice Marie Johnson whose case she took on, leading to commute her life sentence
The bad

The privatisation of prisons is proving to be an utter failure

From South Africa to England, the privatization of prison systems has been proven to be an utter failure – with a growing number of cases of mismanagement and mishandling of profits, as contractors seek to maximize profit and cut costs on their facilities and services. In the U.S., the privatisation of prisons has been directly linked to an uptick in convictions, as more prisoners have meant more money. 

African Prisons Project (APP) is a nonprofit organization working to uplift one of the most vulnerable and marginalized prisoners across East Africa, and beyond. 

APP operates in prisons across Uganda and Kenya, working to put “the power of the law in the hands of the poor” by providing education, training, and legal services to prisoners as well as prison personnel. APP’s goal is to empower prisoners by acquainting them with the law, giving them a sense of agency over their destiny and lives, and help them rehabilitate themselves and their community. 

Support APP and help give the most vulnerable people a step to reclaim their rights and dignity. 

app

Support APP as they uplift Africa’s most vulnerable inmates

by Yair Oded

African Prisons Project is bringing justice to East Africa's most vulnerable prisoners and puts the power of the law in the hands of the poor.
Meanwhile around the world
Ethiopia

Abel Wabela: Paying the price for speaking truth to power in Ethiopia

by Bob Koigi

He has been described by his peers as strong willed and a true patriot, but for Ethiopia’s Abel Wabela the journey and clamour for respect of rule of law has seen him pay the ultimate price.
bykidsmike Kopie

Films BYkids: a new era of global engagement and education

by Yair Oded

BYkids team up children from across the world with filmmakers in order to document global issues from their own point of view.
baji

Partner with BAJI to end discrimination against African Americans and black immigrants

by Yair Oded

The Black Alliance for Immigrant Justice fights for immigrant rights and racial and economic justice. Join them today.
Country focus
Uganda
uganda-country-profile

With a population of just over 36 million people, the landlocked nation of Uganda shares its borders with Kenya, South Sudan, the DR of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. 

Uganda came into independence from British colonial rule in 1962, and much like other former colonies, its pathway to freedom came with a bloody domestic upheaval. Uganda has endured a violent military rule, a 20-year insurgency led by the Lord's Resistance Army and a 5-year war that saw the current president Yoweri Museveni into power in 1986 – he is still serving today, more than 30 years later. 

However despite its past, it is thought that Uganda is heading toward a prosperous future of innovation, job creation and it is also a leader in the fight for press freedom. The country boasts a rife and healthy independent media sector where journalistic integrity, safety and freedom is wholly supported and protected.