The sector has continued to build its capacity to fight corruption and deepened the use of prosecution led investigation.This strategy is responsible for the high conviction rate in anti-corruption cases which is 64%. The sector also ensured that 8priority bills that had lapsed with the 8th Parliament were re-tabled. The JSC was constituted and is now operational. However the low disposal rate of disciplinary cases in the JSC and Law Council remains a challenge.
In terms of addressing human rights observance there was a noticeable reduction in human rights violations by JLOS institutions. In the Uganda prisons 87.6% of the units now have functional human rights committee. The sector strategy to increase carrying capacity in prisons resulted into a 54% increase in prisons carrying capacity over SIPII period although this increase was short of the prison population growth which was 72%. It is therefore not surprising that 35% of the prison units have serious congestion levels.
Sector investments and the adoption of human rights based approach resulted in the elimination of the bucket system in 32% of prison units over the SIPII period. Mortality rates in prisons have also considerably reduced from over 10 deaths for every 1000 inmates at the start of the SIPII to under 2deaths for every 1000 inmates now. The sector also enhanced staff housing in police and prisons through the construction of barracks while staff of other JLOS institutions working in some hard to reach areas were also provided with accommodation.
The sector also continued with programmes to enhance human rights awareness especially targeting former staff of the Local Administration Prisons and Special Police Constables. Over 1500 were trained in basic human rights skills. Through continuous community awareness using meetings, baraazas and media campaigns, many Ugandans have become conscious of their rights. No wonder the numbers of complaints registered are high. The challenge remains the slow disposal rate of complaints by the UHRC tribunals.
Taking services to the people remained a top priority of the sector in the period under review. Various construction projects for the JLOs frontline institutions have been constructed strengthening sector physical and functional presence. It is worth reporting that 56% of the constructions under PRDP that had stalled are now completed and over 30% others are expected to be completed before the end of this calendar year 2012. Currently Courts are functionally present in 95% of districts while DPP is present in 84 districts following opening of 7 new stations.
There are now 223 functional prison units and police 321 police stations and 1694 police stations spread in over 98% of the sub counties. In the reporting period the sector registered 144% disposal rate of registered cases and 48% total disposal rate of cases. This is the first time the sector has been able to dispose more cases than are registered since the start of the sector wide approach. This performance resulted into 21.7% reduction in case backlog and a reduction in the average length of stay on remand for capital offender to 11.8months as well as a 3.7% increase in convicted prisoners. This performance is collaborated with the high public satisfaction with JLOs services which stands at 60% according to the recently concluded JLOS baseline survey. More judicial officers state attorneys and prison warders were recruited and trained while 500 cadets recruited in 2010 were passed.
In the period under review as a result of partnership with non-state actor the sector registered a 56% increase in access to legal aid. In terms of legal education the adoption of pre-entry examinations has begun to bear fruit. There was registered a 550% increase in pass rate from 06% in 2010 to 37% in 2012. However given the high population growth rate and the high growth rate of the prisoner population staffing levels in the police and prisons remain low. The police population ratio deteriorated from 1:709 to 1:755 while the warder prisoner ratio deteriorated from 1:4.5 to 1:5. In some places the ratio is 1:10.
By employing both reactive and proactive measures the sector registered a 43% reduction in incidence of crime over SIPII period. Juvenile offenders reduced by 32% as well as cases of rape and corruption. The increased capacity and skills of investigator and prosecutors resulted into an increase in conviction rates from 49% to 53%.
By moving away from punitive to correctional methodology the sector has reduced the rates for reoffending from 45% at the start of the SIPII to 26.7% in the year under review. Strategies such as community service as an alternative to imprisonment, prisoner rehabilitation programmes and prisoner’s reintegration programmes as well as skills training are responsible for the positive trend. Many inmates were enrolled in rehabilitative programmes and formal education. The sector continued to build the capacity and use of forensic science and continued to roll out the canine unit which is helping to wipe out thefts and burglary.
In terms of safety 0.3% reduction in road traffic accidents was recorded and 11 fire Centres were established targeting major towns in the country. Although the number of fires reported increased, the response time reduced from over 3hours to under 30minutes. It was deplorable however that the number of women committing crime increased by 48%, cases related to trafficking in narcotics increased by 79% and there was also an upward trend in the number of defilement cases that increased by 2%.
The sector remained on course to reform commercial laws and 76% priority commercial laws were enacted over the SIPII period. Following the adoption of case backlog reduction strategy and the prioritization of civil case backlog, there was registered a 173% disposal rate of registered civil cases and 134% disposal rate of registered land cases. The total number of commercial cases disposed increased by 23.6%; 44 mediators were trained and 9 were deployed in the commercial court.
The proposes of rolling out mediation to land, family and civil divisions as well as the establishment of the small claims procedure is on course. In the reporting period 17 land courts were established as part of innovations to deal with the growing backlog of land cases while non-tax revenue collection grew by 34%. The sector however registered a low disposal rate of tax disputes and due to slow pace of innovations the country dropped 3 places in ease of doing business index, majorly caused by inefficiencies of actors outside of JLOS.
Under transitional justice, the amnesty act was renewed, though part II was allowed to lapse as the sector fast tracks the completion the transitional justice police and legal framework. The sector developed and launched the third Sector Strategic Investment Plan; completed a mapping of JLOS presence using GIS; undertook a baseline survey of perception indicators; finalized management information systems study and continued to deepen communication cooperation and communication among JLOS institutions and stakeholders.
The 3rd JLOS open day was held in Kampala in the reporting period providing opportunity to reach out to the public. The sector also held the 6th National JLOS Forum under the theme a pro people justice system during which the sector was encourage to work out strategies to integrate traditional and formal justice processes among others. In the period under review the sector also registered strengthened strong cooperation and support of development partners.
The sector however is faced with challenges including enforcement of laws; institutional barriers to access to JLOS Services such as technical, cost and related barriers; low serviced delivery and institutional productivity; public perception of JLOS institutions as highly corrupt; low levels of public confidence in the justice system especially among the youth; welfare of staff especially in police and prisons continued; delay to constitute local council court as well as limited capital budgets and high cost of rent among others. These among other challenges call for innovation and continued support from the government, the public, development partners and all stakeholders.