Uganda Police, Prisons urged to prioritize health issues

Stakeholders under the security and Governance Programme led by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) on Wednesday met in Kampala and discussed means through which they can end HIV, AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria within the Criminal Justice System.

Some of the key stakeholders who participated in the engagement.

In this engagement held at Hotel Africana, several participants urged Uganda Police Force and Uganda Prisons service to ensure that they double their efforts in providing screening services to suspects as well as the acused persons under their custody.

“Most of our prison facilities are so congested and most of the inmates don’t know their HIV status. Its good to have all of them screened before confinement so as to enable them access the required medical attention and adequate diet once they test positive.” remarked
Her Lordship Margaret Mutonyi , High Court Criminal Division Judge.

The lady justice added that once the results are negative , it can act as a basis which court can rely on in ensuring that such persons have their cases heard first instead of relying on the usual procedure of ‘first come, first served’.

On detaining Juvenile in cells of mature persons, Mutonyi tasked Prisons officers to reject all acused persons whom they have examined and found to be below 18 years.

“On several occasions , children have been remanded to Prison as a result of wrong result of false hoods indicated on the chargesheet. I call upon all Prisons officers to take back any acused person who will be remanded and examined to be underaged.”

Lady Justice Frances Abodo , the
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) noted that since 2021 , at the 16 consent – pioneer screening points at Kampala Metropolitan Police stations, there has been early detection and timely treatment of diseases, thus
protecting all in the Criminal Justice System from the entry point (Uganda Police)

“Since the Global Fund Project on ending HIV, AIDS, TB, and Malaria within the Criminal Justice System commenced in 2021, we have sensitized a total of 360 officers from different branches of the Criminal Justice System, including Judicial Officers, Prosecutors, Police Officers, Prisons Officers, as well as Local Council one (L.C 1) Members and Probation Officers. This sensitization aimed to remove barriers to accessing services related to HIV, AIDS, TB, and Malaria within our Criminal Justice System.

Ayebare Proscovia, the Project Coordinator revealed that before the screening process is conducted, they first receive the consent of the person concerned.

Asistant Commissioner of Prison , Johnbosco Tumwebaze from Uganda Prisons noted that they screen all new inmates before being admitted to their various facilities and once found to be suffering from any of the diseases, i.e AIDs they receive Counselling, given treatment on top of being given special meals.

Justice Vicent Wagona , the Resident Judge of Fort Portal proposed that instead of only considering Aggravated defilement basing on the fact that the acused has HIV, it should be revised and find out whether he knew it by commission of the offence.

The engagement attracted officials from Government Agencies, ODPP, Uganda Police, Uganda Prisons, Judiciary , Civil Society Organizations and the Academia.





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