Possible alternative sentencing of parent offenders and the impact on the criminal justice of Uganda - Case Study of Kigo Prisons

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Kampala International University, School of Law
The study is an exploratory design which sought to analyze the impact of parental imprisonment on children; finding out how alternative sentencing orders can be carried in substitution to the imprisonment of parents and the impact of alternative sentencing on criminal justice and suggesting possible recommendations for a new course of action that will draw attention to the improvement of the position of the children whose parents have been incarcerated. The study was relied on qualitative methods of data collection and analysis and data was gathered from Kigo Prisons, from Wardens, and inmates, including parent offenders. The study also relied on secondary data upon which information related to the specific aims of the study was reviewed from prison records, and concerned organizations such as Human Rights Commission, Police among others as well as from libraries of the Law Development Center. Kampala International University, and Mukono Christianity University. The research concluded that; The criminal justice system has traditionally focused on the offender, his or her victims and the public safety of the community, ignoring the vast and growing number of other victims, the children. Children whose parents are imprisoned have been of less concern to the majority of the population, the criminal justice system and to policymakers in Uganda. Yet the children whose parents have been incarcerated are challenged by family instabilities, limited access to education, medical care, and other forms of protection. The children are vulnerable to a multiplex of negative dispositions that can lead to absent positive intervention, to school failure, delinquency and intergenerational incarceration. On the other hand, the personal and social costs are also high in other words the children are left helpless. There is need for implementation of a major public education campaign that makes the issue of children with incarcerated parents 'everyone's issue.' In V conjunction with this, encouraging alternative sentences focused on policy and system reform opportunities. Community service programme in Uganda and other non-custodial measures like fine, probation and suspended sentences should be implemented. Otherwise, community service alone may not have the much-needed impact. A broader picture of a host of advantages presented such as reduction of prison overcrowding and savings on government expenditures should motivate the judiciary to apply the measures. There is a framework of child caring institutions in Uganda. Efforts of organizations like Wells of Hope Mi:'l)istries and Prison Fellowship Uganda should be lauded because their work is indicative of the fact that there is a wave of growing concern about children and families with imprisoned parents. This shows a need for further concern to develop programs that raise awareness and help in training stakeholders who interact with children and families with incarcerated parents, such as police, prisons, juvenile justice and child welfare to build public will to address issues affecting children with incarcerated parents. The judiciary while presented with an opportunity before arbitrarily sentencing offenders to imprisonment, to inquire about whether the person about to be incarcerated has if family totally dependant on him or not in order to allow for considerations of the best interest of the child. It can be concluded that, community service is an alternative to imprisonment whose use should widely be encouraged for children to remain under the care of their parents and to reduce on the overcrowdedness of prisons. The study recommended that; need for raising awareness on discretion in sentencing of parent offenders; policy development into the inquiry of information of prisoners; introduce community service throughout the country; promoting research mechanisms to widen statistical base and sensitize community on addressing children's needs.
A research report submitted to the faculty of law in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the a ward of the Bachelors Degree of laws of Kampala International University
Parent offenders, Criminal justice, Uganda