• May 19, 2023

SLCS ON THE SPOTLIGHT

SLCS ON THE SPOTLIGHT
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The Sierra Leone Correctional Center, (SLCS), since Adam was a boy unto date continues to appear in the bad books of both national and international reports with regards the abysmal conditions of inmates in all 11 correctional centers across the country.

Although many Director Generals have occupied such a lucrative office, the condition of inmates continues to diminish at a very high speed.

Financial resources, both local and international disbursed to the correctional service for the transformation from prison to standard correctional service remain hugely unmet with not much of changes in the physical conditions of inmates and the correctional facilities nationwide.

Sierra Leone’s Audit Service Commission Performance Audit Report of December 2021, on the welfare of inmates in correctional facilities happens to be the most recent denting report that the institution has deliberately refuse to grant interview on the general recommendations the report urged the Direction General to speedily address.

Summary findings, conclusion and recommendations arising from the Sierra Leone Correctional Service Act, 2014, demands that upon admission and immediate before discharge from a correctional facility, the medical officer shall examine every inmate.

All the correctional centers visited; there was no evidence to show that inmates were medically examined upon admission and prior to discharge.

According to the report, general information was only obtained from inmates on admission and then handed over to the officer in charge of the yard, to be taken to their respective cells depending on the nature of their crime, a review of files during the audit process revealed.

The Report cited Section 4 of the Prison Act of 2014 “Where a medical officer is of the view that an inmate is in a need of a specialist treatment, including psychiatric care, the medical officer shall make a report to the officer in charge, and shall arrange for the inmate to be referred to an appropriate medical practitioner.”

24 insane inmates were identified in all correctional centers across the country of which 17 were males and 7 females.

According to the Report, two of the insane female inmates were not fit for plea but kept in the centers, which contravenes Section 4 of the Correctional Service Act, a review of the medical report by the psychiatric doctor revealed.

Auditors observed that 12 sick inmates were laid on a bare mattress on the floor of the hospital within the male facility at the Freetown Correctional Center.

Revelation has it that the prison hospital did not have equipment like oxygen machines, cardiopulmonary resuscitator for respiratory distress, scanning and mobile X-ray machines, blood bank and sterling machines.

Pharmaceutical supplies to enhance medical care and treatment of sick inmates were not adequate for the number of inmates as various drugs were combined in a single dosage and administered to all inmates irrespective of the nature of their illness, interviews with nurses and officers in charge of various centers disclosed to the team of auditors.

Overcrowding remains visible in all correctional services, especially the maximum correction center as cells were not airy or well-ventilated and lack maximum floor space, taking into consideration the number of inmates per cells.

AS a result of the number of inmates and the limited cells across the country, additional mattresses are sprawled in the center of the passage at night which affects free movement and a risk to the spread of diseases, the Report narrated.

More on the Report.

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