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Human Rights Report 2014

…Poor conditions in correctional centers

September 28, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL), in their 2014 State of Human Rights report, contends that the general condition in correctional centres fall below the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of prisoners.

The report, which was presented to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House  last week, notes that the Mafanta and Moyamba correctional Centres are among the worst, with inadequate bed nets for inmates and poor general hygiene and sanitary condition.

“The water well at the Mafanta Correctional Centre had dried up and inmates had to fetch water from the nearby stream which was unsafe for drinking and bathing,” the report says.

The report maintains that the main correctional centre in Freetown is congested because of overcrowding as some 1,930 inmates occupy space that was originally meant for 324.  “Of this number eight hundred were convicted prisoners, seven hundred and twenty were on remand and four hundred and ten were on trial,” adds the report.

Also, the report states that over 50 inmates selected for Don Bosco feeding programme appeared to be ill and emaciated, while 43 deaths were reported in correctional centres nationwide, with the majority, 34 in the Western Area, one from the northern region, one from the southern region, and seven from the eastern region.

On a positive note though, there was no reported cases of Ebola virus disease infection in any of the seventeen correctional centres across the country, due largely to protective measures being put in place by the Correctional Centre Department and organisations that trained Correctional Officers on relevant Ebola prevention measures.

Meanwhile, the Correctional Centre Department is yet to comment on the rather damning report, especially as billions of Leones is allotted each year to cater for the welfare and wellbeing of inmates.

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