THE Principal Judge, Justice James Ogoola, has called for a new law to ensure that women imprisoned with breastfeeding children get special nutritional care.
Ogoola said this would address the welfare of children, who commit no crime but are confined to prison wards because of the current legal system.
“It is a fundamental question that requires Parliament to review. We need a law on how these blameless children fit in crime,” he said, adding that he would start a discussion over the matter.
He noted that the current laws only prohibit the execution of convicted pregnant women, adding that similar treatment, in terms of feeding, should also be extended to women with breastfeeding children.
Ogoola made the remarks while addressing inmates at Arua prison on Friday. One of the mothers said she was finding it difficult to produce enough milk because of the poor and insufficient meals.
The prison in-charge, Patrick Masiga, said there were 597 inmates in custody with six children, who have one meal a day, due to limited resources.
He said the major foodwas posho and beans with green vegetables provided occasionally, adding that the stock of food was getting over yet the suppliers were delaying to deliver more.
In a hurriedly drafted memorandum, the prisoners complained about continued confinement despite clocking the mandatory release period.
According to Masiga, 126 inmates had reached the mandatory release period of 180 days but were in detention for various reasons. He said 32 of them were on capital offences and 94 were on petty crimes.
The inmates complained that missing files, delayed judgement and unclear appeal channels were the reasons why they continued staying in detention.
Ogoola said it was unfortunate that most of the problems cited hinged on human rights and promised to have them eliminated.
“Those who clock mandatory periods should be released. It is everyone’s constitutional right,” he said.
He explained that the files never get lost, instead they are artificially lost by the clerks. He explained.that the delayed judgments were a result of under-staffing, adding that there were only 35 judges to serve the whole country out of the required 80.
He said there were plans to recruit more judges.