TOP
Friday,November 27,2020 12:15 PM
  • Home
  • National
  • Judiciary suggests remand homes supervised by prison authority  

Judiciary suggests remand homes supervised by prison authority  

By Farooq Kasule

Added 22nd September 2020 01:25 PM

In March this year, over 30 juveniles escaped from Gulu remand home for purportedly going without food for three days.

Judiciary suggests remand homes supervised by prison authority  

Owiny-Dollo also called upon the government to recruit more judges so that he may reduce the case backlog and serve timely justice to the people of Uganda.

In March this year, over 30 juveniles escaped from Gulu remand home for purportedly going without food for three days.

JUDICIARY|REMAND HOMES|UGANDA PRISONS

KAMPALA - Children aged below 18- years, who find themselves in conflict with the law, are detained in remand homes.  

It is only children who have been tried and sentenced that get imprisoned at the National Rehabilitation Centre at Kampiringisa in Mpigi district along Masaka road.

While awaiting trial, the children are kept at various remand homes situated across the country.

They include Naguru, Fort Portal, Gulu, Mbale, Masindi, Arua and Kabale among others.  

Majority of them however including Kampiringisa are reported in poor state resulting from purported poor management.  Their funding is also not budgeted for but left to districts in their locality.

The poor state of the remand homes is blamed for the continued escape of the children from them.

In March this year, over 30 juveniles escaped from Gulu remand home for purportedly going without food for three days.

 The Judiciary now suggests that the prison authority oversee the management of the remand homes to address the glaring issues in the facilities.

Principal Judge Dr Flavian Zeija argues that the prison authority has vast experience in the management of detention facilities and should oversee the remand homes.

 "We suggest that the prison authority manages the remand homes because it has got experience in the same. We believe that this will solve issues of poor feeding among others which force juveniles to escape from them," Zeija said.

Zeija made the suggestion during the launch of the 4th edition of citizen's handbook by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) at Serena hotel-Kigo on Friday.

Zeija was backed by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Justice Jane Frances Abodo, who equally bemoaned the poor state of remand homes in the country which she says it is wanting.

"Of recent over 30 juveniles escaped from Gulu remand home after they had gone without food for three days. Most of the remand homes survive on support from well-wishers and we need to focus on them because the situation they live in amounts to child abuse," Abodo said.

Abodo revealed that while still a judge, she visited Kampiringisa national rehabilitation centre in Mpigi district but stopped sending children in conflict with the law to the same facility due to the poor state of it.

Robert Ayeda Kotchani, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) country representative however opposed the move saying it is unacceptable.

"It is not good to place remand homes under prison authority because children do not belong to prison. I pledge to consult and see whether we can facilitate them," Kotchani said.

Julius Mwebembezi, the registrar directorate of planning, research and inspections at JSC said funding of the remand homes should be budgeted for instead of living it to respective districts in their localities.

Presiding over the event, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo said ignorance is the most dangerous disease affecting the country.

"I hope this handbook will be distributed all over the country to address the issues of ignorance on the law among citizens. My signature is to ensure that all Ugandans get access to justice," Owiny-Dollo said.  
Owiny-Dollo also called upon the government to recruit more judges so that he may reduce the case backlog and serve timely justice to the people of Uganda.

JSC deputy chairperson justice Faith Mwondha said the 4th edition of the citizen hand book was simplified to make it user friendly.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Ephraim Kamuntu implored judges to administer justice without fear or favor.

"We are going into elections and we need a strong and independent judiciary, which is able to uphold rule of law and gain confidence from the public," Kamuntu said.

Kamuntu described the 4th edition of the citizen handbook as a resourceful tool and a bridge between citizens and justice providers.

"Human rights situation has been a challenge for us and we must improve on the situation," Kamuntu noted.

Ruth Sebatindira said the handbook is important to the people of Uganda who are searching for justice.

She said the handbook will empower the citizens to recognize that they have a legal right which they exercise, recognise when a conflict is legal and when, how and where it can be solved, understand how to seek assistance under the law, understand their duty to report any injustice or a violation of a right to the correct authority.

Others are to help them observe and report performance of public servants so as to hold them to account, understand how to fight corruption and improper conduct in service delivery and be able to understand the justice process to recognize when justice has been served in their respective cases or not.

Prisons director of correctional services Samuel Akena asked the judges to simplify the sentences given to convicts, saying sometimes they are vague.

"You find someone has spent five years on remand but sentenced to three -years. We find a lot of challenges in interpreting the sentences," Akena said.

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author