Rehabilitation Programs Give Hope To Juvenile Offenders

3428 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
The programme emphasizes creating meaningful rehabilitative programs that provide each youth, upon leaving the juvenile justice system, with at least one way to earn a living. Under the rehabilitation programme, several projects including carpentry, tailoring, catering and brick making have been set up at Fort Portal remand home in Kitumba, where there are more than 60 juvenile offenders.

 A Juvenile offenders’ rehabilitation programme is bringing hope to a number of children in Fort-Portal Municipality, Kabarole district. The programme emphasizes creating meaningful rehabilitative programs that provide each youth, upon leaving the juvenile justice system, with at least one way to earn a living. 
 
Under the rehabilitation programme, several projects including carpentry, tailoring, catering and brick making have been set up at Fort Portal remand home in Kitumba, where there are more than 60 juvenile offenders. The remand home is a regional juvenile detention centre for the entire Rwenzori region. The other rehabilitation activities at the home include prayer, counseling and games.
 
The remand home is now a busy place as juveniles pace about in the workshops designing beds, chairs, and cupboards. Many others are on the tailoring machines and others in the gardens being taught some farming techniques.
 
Seventeen-year-old David Mugabe is one of the juvenile offenders serving a six months sentence after he was convicted for robbery in November last year. Mugabe says he has no regrets for being confined at the remand home, because the carpentry project has kept him busy.
 
According to Mugabe, he has no plans of returning to school, but says he has gained skills at the remand home and plans to set up a carpentry workshop, when he completes his sentence in order to earn a living.
 
//Cue in: “It has helped me…
Cue out: …forty bricks.”
 
Frank Musinguzi, a former juvenile offender, completed his sentence last year. Musinguzi has started a carpentry business in Kisenyi, a suburb in Fort Portal.
 
Patience Mugasa, the remand home warden, says the projects are good for the offenders because they engage both the body and mind and have helped control cases of repeat offenders. She also says that the projects are done to enhance the talents of the offenders and to impart skills as a way to make them self-sustainable individuals in future.
 
Mugasa says that some of the products, especially the clothes are given to the inmates after they have served their sentences as part of the resettlement package. Others are sold to the community to supplement on the income of the home.
 
//Cue in: “Such projects…
Cue out: …it’s for their benefit.”//
 
Mugasa also says that they have requested the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to employ more counsellors, since counselling is also a major method used by the remand home on all juveniles until the time of resettling them.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.