Our partner Juba Prison
Plight of prisoners and dire prison conditions in South Sudan
The current information is prisons as of 2019; South Sudan has close to 10,000 inmates. The Main Juba Prison has a population of nearly 2,261 inmates; the incarcerated include Women (150) Children (56) and Men (2,055). The incarceration of parents is a blow to their children. Children are protected by international statutes and legal frameworks including the right not to be discriminated against based on the status or activities of their parents (Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 2(2)), to the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting them (Article 12(2)) and the right to have their best interests be a primary consideration in all actions concerning them (Article 3(1)).
Despite these legal standards, unfortunately, they are too easily ignored. Their neglect has become a perennial problem in South Sudan. They risk deprivation of basic necessities and opportunities, physical and mental health impacts, financial difficulties, the possibility of having to move house or be taken into care; financial difficulties; problems at school (educational and behavioral); increased vulnerability to neglect, abuse and victimization and danger of secondary victimization and depersonalization. Rarely, do ministries responsible for children and non-state actors see this category of children as a group exposed to particular challenges.
With South Sudan widely known for child labour and early marriages, children of incarcerated parents are more vulnerable and yet the current national policies and civil society organizations say little or nothing at all of how this category of children can be helped to lead meaningful lives in the absence of the care giver(s). Interventions are needed to provide for the socio-economic livelihoods of this group of people, given that in the characterization of OVCs, they are rarely mentioned and yet comprise a very big number.