According to the Childrens Act, local governments are mandated to provide juvenile offenders with the basic needs, contribute towards their reform, education, rehabilitation and prepare them for reintegration back into their families and communities after serving their sentences.
However, Elly Magwara, the Kasese Vice chairperson opposed the construction of a remand home in the district and instead proposed the construction of rehabilitation center. According to Magwara, most of the children are in conflict with the law due to lack of counseling and guidance.
Patricia Mugisa, the Matron Fort Portal remand home, says they have run out of food to feed the minors and are forced to seek assistance from residents neighboring the home, who contribute money to buy some food.
At this time of the year, various individuals and organizations operating in Fort Portal give out items to orphans and juveniles. Some of the gifts include rice, clothes, beddings, soap, bread and meat.
Due to the acute shortage of remand home facilities, in some of the district the minors and kept in the same police cells with adult offenders for several weeks, while in some areas cops have turned their houses into detention centers for the minors.
The programme emphasizes creating meaningful rehabilitative programs that provide each youth, upon leaving the juvenile justice system, with at least one way to earn a living. Under the rehabilitation programme, several projects including carpentry, tailoring, catering and brick making have been set up at Fort Portal remand home in Kitumba, where there are more than 60 juvenile offenders.
Last month, Kabalore district probation department received 90 million shillings from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to purchase food and other basic necessities for the home. However, the money was diverted by the district. As a result, inmates are now being fed on a single meal a day instead of three.