In a recent parliamentary session on October 5, 2023, Members of Parliament (MPs) expressed varied opinions regarding a recommendation from the Committee on Gender, Labour, and Social Development. The committee, led by Hon. Flavia Kabahenda, suggested that the government should construct more remand homes due to population growth.
According to Hon. Kabahenda, except for the Ihungu Remand Home in Masindi and Kapiringisa National Rehabilitation Centre, the remaining six facilities across the country suffer from overcrowding. She highlighted that overcrowding poses practical challenges, such as infringing on the right to privacy and impeding access to basic necessities like soap and sanitary towels.
Support for the proposal came from Hon. Nelsa Avako, the NRM representative for Yumbe District, who emphasized the importance of ensuring adequate care for children in conflict with the law. She asserted that more remand homes would offer these children the necessary rehabilitation and support.
However, Hon. Stella Atyang, the MP for Moroto District, expressed concerns about the delay in completing a remand home construction project in her constituency, questioning its progress.
Hon. Barnabas Tinkasiimire of Buyaga West County called for measures to transfer children in conflict with the law from areas lacking remand homes.
On the opposing side, Hon. Denis Oguzu Lee urged the Ministry of Gender to investigate the root causes of children’s involvement in criminal activities and focus on their transformation into responsible citizens.
Agago County MP, Hon. David Lagen, advocated for strengthening traditional family structures as a more effective means of rehabilitating children, emphasizing that some return from remand homes without significant transformation.
Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi, stressed the importance of reintegrating children into their communities rather than expanding the number of remand homes.
The committee also put forward recommendations related to budgeting for education services within remand homes, improving the legal and policy framework for juvenile justice, and increasing budgets for food and other supplies.
Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa directed that the recommendations be shared with relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) for action and tasked the minister with presenting an action taken report to the House within three months.