Gulu. Gulu Remand Home that serves as a detention facility for children in conflict with the law in most norther region districts, the majority of the districts in the north, is understaffed, Daily Monitor has learnt.
Our investigations show that recommended number of staff needed at the facility is 17, but at the moment, there are only three staff, a shortage that has seen some of the remandees escape from the remand home.
The remand home was established in 2009 to rehabilitate child law offenders.
The children are drawn from the eight district of Acholi Sub-region, including Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Gulu, Agago, Omoro, Amuru and Pader.
The remand home also serves Oyam District in Lango Sub-region.
At the moment, the remand home has 51 juveniles ranging from 12-17 years, with cases ranging from defilement, rape to theft.
In an interview with Daily Monitor on Monday, Mr Joseph Kilama, the officer-in-charge of the remand home, decried the level of understaffing as severe, and called for recruitment of more staff.
“We are very few on the ground to manage the children. Although the facility was meant to only accommodate 54, at times the numbers can even reach 60 and when you compare with the manpower, it becomes so challenging,” he said.
“Due to understaffing, some juveniles escape from the remand home,” he said.
Ms Rose Abili, the district councillor for Bungatira Sub-county, who is also the district secretary for community services, said plans are underway to recruit more staff for the remand home.
“By next month, the advert will be out calling for people interested to apply and fill up the vacant positions,” she said.
Facing closure. In 2016, Gulu District local government threatened to close Gulu Remand Home over inadequate funding.
The district chairperson, Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, said they could no longer run the remand home since they had no food to feed the juveniles. He said keeping the juveniles at the facility while hungry is a gross violation of their rights.
At the time, the remand home accommodated more than 60 juveniles. Each month, the facility needs about 800kgs of maize flour and more than 650kgs of beans to feed the children awaiting trial.
It also required Shs2.4m for its monthly operations. The children commit offences such as defilement, robbery, rape and aggravated defilement.