• July 11, 2023

As Overcrowding Reaches 554% SLCS NEEDS SHAKE–UP

As Overcrowding Reaches 554%  SLCS NEEDS SHAKE–UP
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The Sierra Leone Human Rights Commission (HRCSL), Annual Report on the State of Human Rights Report, 2019 has categorically lay bare the long-standing issue of overcrowding in correctional centers across the country, with no exception of the Male Correctional Center on Pademba Road in Freetown glazing the list of overcrowded prisons in Sierra Leone.

According to the Report under review, the issue continues to pose multiple challenges in correctional centers. Centers visited recorded increased in the number of persons’ incarcerated inmates in overcrowded conditions.

HRCSL Report identified the Male Correctional Center in Freetown leading in the trending overcrowding race in correctional services across the country.

The Report stated that the holding capacity of the Male Jail in Freetown was meant to uphold 324 inmates, but it is currently housing over 1,795 inmates at 554%.

It continued that similar situations exist in Kenema Male Correctional Center, with a holding capacity of 80 inmates but however accommodate 305 inmates representing 381%.

Makeni Male Correctional Centre, holding capacity 83, accommodates 288 inmates representing 347% HRCSL Report reads, adding that the Bo Male Correctional Centre holding was for 80 inmates, but it is however housing 247 inmates constituting 309%.

The Report singled out the Kailahun Male Correction Centre with a holding capacity of 80 holding which also now house 88 inmates at 110%.

HRCSL reiterated concerns about overcrowding, banking on its impacts on the full enjoyment of the right to health of inmates that the commission noted contravened Rule 13, Minimum Standard Rule, “All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirement of health due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation”. In Kenema, the report observed that an inmate that the report identified as DK had spent eleven years in detention without an indictment.

With the intervention of the Human Rights institution, an extra ordinary court session organized by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), lead to DK subsequently been acquitted and discharged.

In an effort to decongest the Freetown Male Correctional Centre, in September 2019 relocated one hundred and ten (110) inmates including ten (10) females to Pre-Trial Detention and Simulation centre in Kissy Town, Waterloo, in the Western Rural District.

On 26th October, two hundred and eighty-two males (282) inmates from the Freetown Male Correctional Centre were relocated to the Mafanta Correctional Centre in Tonkolili District. According to the report, the move was aimed at easing congestion at the Freetown Male Correctional.

 

Since the transformation from prisons to a Correctional Service by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), Annual, Performance Audit reports and the State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone Annual Report published by the HRCSL continue to rope in the Sierra Leone Correctional Service for gross Human Rights violations of inmates in correctional facilities across the country.

Report after the other continue to touch on outstanding issues that the management of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service has deliberately refused to address the long-standing issues affecting inmates across the country. With such refusal by the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Civil Society Organizations monitoring inmates in cells and detention facilities across the country have called on the government to carry out serious shake up to allow development and other facilities due inmates reach them.

 

 

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