The Peregrine Review

Article Title

The Red Dirt of M1


The nice words for a place like M1 are “juvenile detention center” or “remand home.” Those are its labels in Uganda. They are labels that sweep what M1 really is under a rug and present it nicely to anyone who might question its very existence. In truth, M1 ought to be called what it is: a prison for children. M1 is one of the places where children as young as two years old are dropped off by Ugandan police after routine “round-ups” and arrests for crimes that are more often than not petty. They are then left there until the system remembers them and their sentence is up. These brute facts about M1, the stories I had heard, and the pictures I had seen did not prepare me for my own visit to M1 in 2015 with Sixty Feet, a ministry that advocates and cares for the children in Uganda’s remand homes.