Rights of a child forgotten in prison

Children of female inmates in jails across the country have rights like any other child, however those rights become forgotten when they are in prison with their convicted mothers.

These innocent victims of crimes committed by their mothers spend up to three years in jail until they are released back into the communities with families.

They eat what is basically served to older inmates – a diet that consists of staple foods. 

The Bomana correctional institute outside the nation's capital is no different.

With a female population of 30, it currently has two toddlers under the age of 3 who are under the care of their convicted mothers.

A judge of the National and Supreme Court raised concerns over these children following a visit to Bomana jail.

Justice Panuel Mogish highlighted the plight of convicted mothers and their children this week.

“They are not given the type of nutrition that they are supposed to be getting,” he said.

“They just eat the common food that every other convicts or inmates eat. So if it’s rice and tinned fish, it’s rice and tinned fish that the children eat.”

Justice Mogish said many NGOs are putting their money in the wrong places when they should be looking at the plight of these people.

“The rights of a child, it’s just a forgotten right. The child is innocent but because of the circumstances, he just becomes part of the crime.

“Would you like to feed your child rice and tinned fish when your child is a year old? It just doesn’t make sense.

“That is just one issue that I think the CIS is not doing much about,” he said.

Bomana Jail Commander Haraha Kiddy Keko said the concerns raised by the visiting judge are also his.

He is consulting with those at the Correctional Service Headquarters to address the issue.

He also said assistance has come to the prison and they are now preparing to grow their own food.

Sally Pokiton