January 23, 2020
By Mohamed Massaquoi
National Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Correctional Services (SLCS) has disclosed in an exclusive interview with this medium that the Male Correctional Centre at Pademba Road in Freetown is in serious danger as the number of condemned inmates kept on increasing dramatically over the years.
Lesley Cole Showers said there are fifty eight (58) hardcore criminals at the detention facility, who have been condemned for major crimes like treason and murder offences, a development he considered as threat to the peace and stability of the country.
“One of the major challenges we have at the moment is the high number of condemned inmates at Pademba Road. We have 58 of them and this is the highest number we have ever since in history of this country. In the past they used to execute them but human rights organizations are everyday advocating for them not to be killed. Their number keeps soaring every day and this is a problem for us. The risky part of it is that we cannot confine them all the time to their blocks because there is what we call ‘the talk shop’ which provides the opportunity for inmates to interact with others,” he said.
He reiterated that they cannot stop the movement of inmates within the centre and appealed for government to immediately look into the issue.
“It is significant to note that we are having two thousand seven hundred officers only and there are four thousand three hundred inmates across the country. That number slightly reduced after the presidential pardon recently. We are contemplating on establishing another centre for the condemned inmates out of Freetown but this is yet to happen based on a lot of challenges,” he said.
He added that despite the fact that government has been massively supporting the Correctional Service to maintain best practices, yet they are demoralised as certain facilities are not available within the service.
Showers further noted that it is no longer a secret that a good number of their vehicles are not effectively working and that some of them have taken more than ten years in service.
“We are not a separate or private institution. For the past three years we have been writing to government for vehicles. As you know government is very busy with other commitments but we have been assured of new vehicles this year,” he concluded.