Judge Decries Poor Conditions at Remand Homes

Lady Justice Margaret Mutonyi, the Gulu resident High Court Judge has asked the government improve conditions in remand homes across the country.

Justice Mutonyi says she was not impressed after her recent visit to Gulu as well as Kampiringisa Remand Home in Mpigi district adding that the children are not being offered the best after they come into conflict with the law.

The Judge noted that, “Most of the remand homes are working beyond their capacities besides the limited ability to give appropriate services and environment to juveniles at the centre.”

Justice Mutonyi cited Kampiringisa Remand Home where some of the children are sometimes confined in dirty cells for breaking rules at the center.

According to the judge, “Juveniles from the north are always the victims since they cannot understand and often fail to take instructions given in Luganda.”

Luganda is the widely spoken language in the central region.

She said, “Because they fail to comply as instructed especially during assembly hours, they are treated as indiscipline leading to mistreatment.”

She said it is inappropriate that some of the children are confined in small cells with high ventilation system contrary to the policies on children.

Mr James Kaboggoza- Ssembatya, the Assistant Commissioner Children and Youth in the Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry said the government is aware of the problem and will soon resolve it by training those in the frontline with good practices.

The Commissioner attributed the problem to the lack of qualified staff at the remand home since less than 50 percent of those employed at the establishment have gone through formal training on how to handle juveniles.

He adds that, “In the new financial year, government will build rehabilitation centers in the north and Karamoja region to reduce pressure on  Kampiringisa and Naguru Remand Homes which serve the entire country.

The Gulu resident judge also suggested that Police should incorporate juvenile justice into their curriculum so that congestion at remands homes is reduced.