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Congestion besets Sierra Leone prisons

Congestion besets Sierra Leone prisons

Reports reaching this medium indicate that prisons all over the country are presently unfavorable for the inmates because of overcrowding which is a recipe for the commission of crimes and the spread of diseases.

This was made known to the public when the Staff Officer II of the Sierra Leone Prisons, Mr.  Joseph J. Sennessie was delivering a speech at the Atlantic Hall, National Stadium, Freetown December 10th when celebrating International Human Rights Day.

Mr. Sennessie explained that in 2010 the Government approved the reformation of the Sierra Leone Prisons to The Correction Services in order to change the focus of the prisons from a place of punishment to a place of correcting.

He maintained that Sierra Leone Prisons were built for a specific number of inmates but that over the years the numbers have increased so much that the cells are no longer enough, bringing about overcrowding in the cells.

He recounted that the Freetown Maximum Prison at Pademba Road was built for only 324 inmates which is now housing 1,718 inmates; Bo Prison was erected for 80 inmates but now it contains 187 inmates; the Kenema Prison was built for 150 inmates but today it keeps 258 prisoners, the Makeni Prison was built for 80 inmates but it now contains 190 inmates.

He emphasized how overcrowding is a situation that poses health hazards for both the inmates and Prison Officers, adding that the issue of congestion in the prisons can only be addressed if the Judiciary do their work well.

He concluded by thanking the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone for celebrating International Day of Human Rights.

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