May 14, 2018 By Hassan G. Koroma
Whilst briefing the High Court judge at the close of the January Criminal Session last Friday, May 11, Correctional Officer, Superintendent Johnathan Wilson, has called on government to construct more correctional centres that would help reduce the overcrowding at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre in Freetown.
“The detention centre is overwhelmed. We are pleading to the government to construct more correctional centres for the growing population,” he said.
He said the number of inmates at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre was six times its initial capacity.
He told Justice Monfred Sesay that there were 1,961 male inmates in a detention centre that was constructed to hold 324, noting that the case was the same at the Female centre.
In the last correctional centre report, the Superintendent noted that eight to nine imates slept in a six-by-six feet room, but to the surprise of the judge, the same Superintendent later said there were four to five inmates in one room.
“When did that change happen? Justice Sesay quizzed, adding that ‘at the close of the previous criminal session you told us something different,”
The officer said in low tone that the changes had occurred in the last few months.
The officer continued that sanitation at the centre was ‘intact’ with pipe borne and bore holes available.
He said local inmates are fed three times a day with food that the correctional centre decides, whilst the foreign inmates were free to choose their food.
For the health situation, he said there was an in-house hospital equipped enough to treat inmates and that it was being managed by qualified medical practitioners.
He added that in the case where an inmate condition seems to get out of hands, they do referral to Connaught or the 34 Military hospitals.
For education, he said, there was an adult education and vocational training centres for masonry, shoe making, baking, and carpentry work.
Giving the rundown of the centres, Superintendent Wilson said there are 623 inmates with long term sentence- 611 males 12 females.
He said there are 165 short term male inmates with 15 female inmates.
“Male inmates that are on remand are 194 and female inmates on remand are 12. There are 348 inmates with indictment- 333 males and 15 females. For Inmates on trial without indictment, there are 568 males and 21 females,” he said.
Superintendent Wilson noted that there are 10 foreign nationals on trial, with six of them on remand.
“There are eleven foreign nationals who have been convicted- ten males, one female,” he said
He noted that there was only one male appellant, adding that there was one inmate at the kissy mental home with three males referred to the Connaught hospital for treatment.
‘There are 19 inmates who are on life imprisonment- 16 of those are males and three females. We also have 40 male condemned inmates and two female inmates.’
He recommended to the authorities to improve the food quality and quantity, thus calling on the judiciary to FastTrack the papers of those inmates who are without indictment
Meanwhile, State prosecutors, A. Sheku, M. Lansana and S.J. Ballat applied for the January criminal session to close the session.