By Ishmael Dumbuya
As a way of salvaging challenges revolving around the aged, the Dorwontony Organization for the Aged, DoFA, has yesterday 19th January, conducted needs assessment for the aged at the Pademba Road Male Correctional Centre in Freetown.
During the engagement with the 22 aged male inmates, whose ages range from 60-65 years, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Dorren Barrie, re-emphasized her organization’s commitment in addressing issues affecting the aged across the country.
She went on to state that their scope not only revolves around the aged on the streets, but those who have fallen within the ambit of the law. She added that there are a lot of challenges meted by the old people in the correctional center, which is why her organization has conducted needs assessments as a way of knowing the needs and challenges of those inmates.
The founder maintained that her organization has taken up the stride in order to address the growing aged- care crisis in the country’s prison system.
What was found catchier was the fact that 90% of the aged in the male correctional centre were convicted for sexual penetration, which was why Mrs. Barrie highlighted that her organization will be providing free legal services for those inmates.
In his own talk, the legal adviser to the organization, Ade Macauley, noted that he had been working with DoFA for some time now, adding that the organization is very passionate about the well-being and affairs of the aged.
“I have read over the nature of your crimes and their convictions, we will appeal in the High Court that some of your convictions be curtailed or we ensure that justice prevail in some of your accusations,” he stated.
Barrister Macauley gave the inmates words of consolation and urged some of them who have properties that family members might want to seize as a result of the fact that they are in prison, to bring such complaints to the organization and upon their next visit, such cases will be addressed.
Appreciating DoFA, the head of the Pademba Road Centre, Ishmael Foday Kamara, said they are very much elated with the visitation as there are a lot of aged inmates who do not have relatives that normally come to visit them. He added that that has been a key challenge to the aged in prison. He reemphasized that a lot of the aged inmates were charged and convicted with Sexual Penetration.
Moriba Kamara, a representative from LegalAID board explained that they have had a long working relationship with DoFA when it comes to fighting for the rights of the aged. He highlighted their Board’s commitment to provide legal advice and assistance to DoFA whenever they called upon them, adding that DoFA has just renewed another 3 years MoU with the Legal Aid Board.
Tamba Kamanda, an inmate who was sentenced to 30 years, and has only served 10 years mentioned myriad challenges they go through on a daily basis.
“Our families have abandoned us; they don’t come to visit us anymore. My eyesight is becoming defective, and my genital area has swollen, so we will need you to be providing medical assistance for aged inmates as well until the day we will die in here.” He calmly mentioned.
In attendance were the co-founder of DoFA, Anthony Sankoh, social workers from DoFA, Concord Times and AYV.