Correctional Service laments non-release of budget allocation for 2017
September 26, 2018
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Deputy Director-General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS) yesterday complained bitterly about the non-release of the budget allocation to the institution, particularly during the second half of 2017.
Defending the institution’s 2019 budget and strategic plan at the ongoing budget hearing, Joseph Lamboi said the non-remittance of funds militates against their ability to honour commitment to service providers, as well as undertaking key projects that were identified to address the welfare of inmates.
According to Lamboi, correctional services are blighted by many challenges, including increment in the number of inmates across the country and increase in morbidity rate, adding that they should serve as justification for the Ministry of Finance to allocate more funds to them and their timely disbursement in the next fiscal year.
Interventions from non-state actors and district budget committee representatives called for an increased in budgetary allocation to the correctional service, as well as timely release of funds.
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The Le69.4 billion presented by the correctional services, which was their budget ceiling, was approved by the technical committee, who gave no assurance that an addition would be made to amount for 2019.
“When we were defending our budget in 2017, the inmate population in correctional centres across the country was 4,153 compared to 4,524 as at this morning, indicating an 8% increase. This shed lights on the ever increasing inmate numbers at correctional centres with its attendant challenges on the human rights of inmates,” said Lamboi.
He noted that the significant overcrowding, which sums up to 350%, rates Sierra Leone among the highest in the sub-region, adding that what is more worrisome is that 85% of inmates at correctional centres fall within the youthful age bracket of 18-35 years.
On capacity building, the Deputy Director-General said the ‘Prisons to Corrections’ project has facilitated the training of thirty (30) Case Managers who are now administering offender management treatment programmes for inmates to address issues relating to sexual offending, gender-based violence and alcohol and drug abuse.
He added that the success of the treatment programme was crucial to the objectives of their strategic plan, which encompasses reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.