By Alusine Sesay
As part of the Independence celebrations, and in exercise of powers of prerogative of mercy bestowed on him by the 1991 constitution, President Ernest Bai Koroma on 27 April pardoned 188 prisoners nationwide.
According to Public Relations Officer of the Prisons Department, Mohamed Opito Jimmy, the pardon was limited to inmates who were incarcerated for minor crimes, including loitering and traffic offences.
He told Concord Times that four female inmates were among those who benefited from the presidential pardon.
One hundred and nine (109) inmates, he said, were released from the maximum security prisons at Pademba Road and a further seventy-five (75) from provincial prisons.
There have been hues and cries about congestion at especially the Pademba Road prison, which was constructed to house about three hundred (300) prisoners, but now host over one thousand (1000) inmates.
Being a normal practice, the Presidential pardon could be a practical means to arrest the problem of congestion in prisons across Sierra Leone.