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Inadequate Staff Affecting Operations of Gulu Remand Home

The remand home that houses child offenders from Omoro, Amuru, Nwoya, Pader, Lamwo, Agago, Oyam and Gulu currently has only six staff which include an in–charge, two Assistant Probation Officers and three guards out of the required eleven staff.

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Gulu Remand Home is struggling to operate over inadequate staff and lack of transport. 

The remand home that houses child offenders from Omoro, Amuru, Nwoya, Pader, Lamwo, Agago, Oyam and Gulu currently has only six staff which include an in–charge, two Assistant Probation Officers and three guards out of the required eleven staff. Evelyn Akello, the Probation and Welfare Officer of Gulu says Gulu district alone takes an average of 40 child offenders to court daily on cases like theft, housebreaking and sexual offences among others but that the manpower at the remand home is not enough to handle them.

Akello reveals that the two assistant probation officers have to juggle between attending to the juveniles at the remand home and responding to other cases in the communities like child neglect, which she says has created a backlog in the Probation office.

According to Akello, they are also facing challenges of transport since the remand home and the probation office don’t have any vehicle.

// Cue in: “We have a challenge… Cue out …to help them.” // Beatrice Anena, the Probation and Welfare Officer of Amuru District says the Chief Magistrate of Nwoya district sits in Amuru once in a while to hear cases and that for every court session they spend over 100,000 Shillings for transporting the juveniles.

Anena revealed that hearing cases are put on the same date for convenience and also to reduce the burden of transporting the juveniles.

// Cue in: “Whenever these juveniles… Cue out …very big challenge.” //

Jacob Okot, the Probation and Welfare Officer of Nwoya district says they are surviving on financial assistance from other development partners like Save the Children Uganda to enable them to transport juveniles to and from the court.

Martine Kiiza, the Executive Director of the National Children Council appealed to the district authorities to allocate a budget to the probation office to enable them to run their day to day activities accordingly.

Kiiza also revealed that the National Children Council is engaging all the stakeholders at various levels to ensure that children are taken care of so that they don’t get in conflict with the law.

Currently, there are over 300 juveniles on remand at Gulu Remand Home. They are from Nwoya, Amuru, Omoro, Pader, Lamwo, Agago, Oyam and Gulu Districts. In May last year, 29 juveniles escaped from the remand home located at Pece –Laroo Division in Gulu City.