Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
DIFFERENCES IN TREATMENT OF BOYS AND GIRLS
At the time when I visited Nagulu detention centre home, there were only six girls in the home. While the girls have their separate dormitory, they attended the same assembly where I met them for a brief interaction. Given that girls have special requirements and needs and given the prevalence of defilement in the country, there is need to build a separate home for girls. This is not the case however as all the homes are mixed. There is no preferential treatment for girls, apart from giving them supplies during menstruation. This was the same situation at Kampiringisa rehabilitation centre. The number of girls was very small compared to the number of boys.
There is a fundamental gap between what is provided in the laws and what happens in practice in Uganda. It is not clear why boys are more prone to crime than girls. In the detention centres and the rehabilitation centre, the number of boys compared to girls is overwhelming. This calls for a critical study of this phenomenon. It is not clear why defilement is on the increase. I intend to study these phenomena.
Upon critical investigations and like Penal International established (Penal Reform International 2012), there is missing data on the following: the time spent in detention before sentence, time spent in detention after sentence, number of child deaths in detention, percentage of children not wholly separated from adults during detention, percentage of children visited by family member, percentage of children who enter a pre-trial or pre-sentence diversion scheme, percentage of children in detention who are victims of self-harm, percentage of children who become victims of sexual abuse during detention and percentage of children in detention who have experienced closed or solitary confinement as a punishment during detention. Efforts should be made towards establishing these numbers.
Acknowledgements PhD in Law and Governance (University of Dar es salaam), LLM (Makerere University), LLB (Makerere University) ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators-London) Diploma in Legal Practice (Law Development Centre).
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