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Calls for govt’ to construct additional correction centres

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.

  • Tom Asher Gbandawa

    Does Sierra Leone need more prisons? My answer is NO? First of all, the new government should review the regional composition of the inmates in the Correctional Facility system.

    Secondly, base on the above findings the governement should allocate resources by region to build rehabilitation centers in each District, where inmates with non serious crimes can be rehabilitated and placed back in society. These centers should provide work programs for training inmates in carpentry, auto mechanics, construction, farming, computer, electrical and hvac technicians (for air conditioning), to name just a few. With such programs, it’s easier for inmates to integrate into society rather than leaving them out to fetch for their “hand-to-mot” when released from prison.

    Finally, Sierra Leone need to feed herself, instead of depending on Chinese plastic rice & foreigners to feed us. We, as a people must get back to cultivating our fertile agricultural lands inorder to feed ourselves. Hanging out around politicians for “cookry mony” should no longer be the new normal. We need to shift the population growth in Freetown back to the Districts with incentives, such as low income based housing with electricity and running water, schools and health centers near farming communes. This will encourage people to relocate to the provinces.

    For our beloved country to become econmically viable & strong again, like in the 1960’s and 70’s, we need to feed ourselves. Njala, with the advent of Njala University became the bread basket of Sierra Leone. We did it in the 70’s, yes we can do it in 2018 and beyond.

    God bless Mama Sa Leone and our New President Maada Bio and his government.