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.
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
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.
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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.
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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
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.
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.