Uganda: Juvenile Justice Reform


GlobalJax hosted a delegation of legal professionals from Uganda to learn about the US juvenile justice system. Participants learned ways to assess risk level in young people, became informed on types of intervention and treatment, and observed social workers to get an understanding on how they provide targeted rehabilitation and reintegration programs. The delegation also got an overview of fair representation in the US court system, and reviewed juvenile justice reform efforts for racial and ethnic minorities. The delegation interacted with local organizations, such as Center for Children’s Rights, Public Defender of Juvenile Division, and Dolores Barr Weaver Policy Center, to discuss these practices for juvenile justice. The delegation will bring these trainings about juvenile justice to their home in Uganda.

Currently, Uganda’s juvenile justice system faces critical constraints. In the year 2011-2012, there were 1256 juvenile offenders. In 2012, the Ugandan Police Force arrested an average of six juveniles per 100,000 of the child population. The conditions of detention are sub-standard and overcrowded. Children are denied rights, such as legal representation, standards of health, and parental access. Child offenders are sometimes held with adults, due to lack of separate holding facilities at police stations, which can incite violence and exploitation. In sexual and gender based violence crimes, there are delays in the investigation and prosecution. The justice system has exhibited mishandling cases, outdated evidential admission requirements, and has failed to apply “child-friendly justice.” This delegation will be taking steps to apply the best practices learned from their time in Jacksonville and around the US for implementing child-friendly justice in Uganda.

Sources: CRIN, UNICEF

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