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Sierra Leone News: Prisoners reveal poor conditions

JB DaudaPrisoners at the Mattru Prisons in the Bonthe District have poured out their grievances to Muctaru Conteh, the Resident Minister South.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow prisoners, Mohamed G. Kamara alias ‘G-Unit’ told the Resident Minister that ranging from the bad food they eat to the unhealthy cells they sleep in.
The problems, he highlighted in the prisons are: “poor sanitation; poor medical facilities;incarceration of under-aged children; no water; no electricity; no NRA office for sureties to pay, when fined and overcrowding.” Coupled with that, the cells, he explained, are very cold as they were built with mud. This mud building, he stated, is so cold that  “that we are always contracting pneumonia.”
In fact, the walls of the cells, G-Unit continued to reveal “breaking and falling on us.”
In responding to him, Muctaru Conteh first threw light on his happiness over the expressed relationship between the prisoners and the prison officers.
He however told the officers the prisoners are “humans and not animals and they deserve some respect.” He also touched on the issue of under-aged children in prisons as an “issue to be discussed with the higher authorities.”
He left by assuring them of “doing all in his powers to upgrade the status of this prison.”
The 49 year old Mattru  Prisons was constructed in 1965 to host not more than a hundred prisoners but it now has more than 160 in-mates. Instead of five in the small cells, there are about 18 in-mates in a single cell. And since its 1965 construction, a Prison Officer who asked to be anonymous told Awoko that “since 1965 this prison has never been rehabilitated.”
By Jenkins bawoh
Wednesday March 04, 2014

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