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Sierra Leone News: Prison report recommends relocation

The Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Sanpha Bilo Kamara, on Thursday 13 September 2018, at the Correctional Centre hall called for the Pademba Road prison to be relocated for security purposes. He suggested relocation to Songo or Masanki or Mafanta where there are thousands of hectares of land. Kamara said, “The current condition of the country’s maximum security facility is no longer ideal for the safety of correctional service dispensation.” In 2013, the government started the process to relocate the male prison but nothing has come into effect. He said they need to relocate the main correctional centre in order to make the environment more conducive for correctional officers and inmates as well. The relocation recommendation is one of the recommendations listed in the master plan of the correctional service report, “Transforming from Prisons to Corrections”. “65% of inmates found at correctional centers across the country are pre-trial some of those cases have been pending at the law court for over two or three years or more. A very good percentage of the inmate population at correctional centres are youth. This also implies that the percentage of the workforce find themselves behind bars at the detriment of meaningful development of the society.” The present Freetown central prison on Pademba Road was founded on 14th March 1914 by British colonial authorities for just 300 inmates. Presently, the Pademba Road facility is flooded with more than 1,000 inmates, according to Prison Watch. The dilapidated facilities, age of the buildings, lack of maintenance, over-crowding and misuse, have created a den of human rights abuses. The facilities fall well under any international standard of care for prisoners, especially the Mandela Code. In 2010, a number of high security prisoners, including those convicted of armed robbery, assault, larceny, etc. escaped from the prison causing panic in nearby neighbourhoods. The facilities regularly leak sewage onto Pademba Road, a main thoroughfare into the city. A neighbour said, “It smells. There are too many men in there and the latrines leak into the road. It’s inhumane in there.”


By Mohamed J. Bah

Monday September 17, 2018

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