1 January 2013

Uganda: Exempt Mothers From Long Prison Sentences

Action for Development executive director Regina Bafaki has implored the Government to consider exempting women offenders with babies and expectant mothers, from long custodial sentences to avoid having children raised from a prison setting.

In the 21 women detention facilities countrywide, the Uganda Prisons Service has 161 children detained alongside their mothers.

Luzira Women's Prison has the biggest number at 43, according to prison authorities.

"Prison is incompatible with raising children of incarcerated mothers. They lack basic necessities, despite the existence of gender-sensitive laws. This calls for a new approach to specific needs of women to ensure that the offspring do not end up in jail as well," she noted.

"The Government has ratified different regional and international conventions for the treatment of women prisoners and custodial measures for women offenders. However, it has not done enough to fulfill these commitments," Bafaki said in an interview recently.

According to the Prison publicist, Frank Baine, Prison Service receives a budget allocation of sh76bn annually. However, there is no special budget to cater for children living with mothers in custody.

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