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3,616 Inmates Nationwide says DG Sierra Leone Correctional Service

3,616 Inmates Nationwide says DG Sierra Leone Correctional Service

The Director General of Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS), Sanfa Bilo Kamara has recently told the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Internal Affairs about the numerous challenges the institution is facing.  (Photo: Director of Correctional Centre Sanfa Bilo Kamara& Deputy Joseph Lamboi)

The Director Sanfa Bilo Kamara gave the status report to the Committee when the latter summoned him with his Deputy, Joseph Lamboi.

He reiterated that in 2014 the name Pademba Road Prisons was transformed to Correctional Centre through an Act of Parliament.

He informed the Committee that the Correctional Service is at present having nineteen correctional centres across the country.

Sanfa Bilo Kamara however noted that despites the numerous achievements made by the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, they are still experiencing serious operational challenges, including huge overcrowding.

The Director General disclosed that there are currently three thousand six hundred and sixteen 3,616 inmates countrywide.  According to him, the Pademba Road Prisons was initially built for three hundred and twenty-four 324 inmates but today has about one thousand six hundred and five 1605.

The absence of well equipped correctional administrative building (headquarters) is a big challenge as budgetary allocation for the SLCS is grossly inadequate, Mr. Kamara lamented.

He added that delay of payment to contractors is another huge challenge and that contractors are even planning to protest against it.

Mr. Kamara also lamented that water and sanitation facilities in most correctional centers are minimal, noting that the delay in the adjudication of remand and trial cases in the courts coupled with delay by the State Prosecution to prepare prompt indictments for inmates whose cases have not been committed from the Magistrate Court to the High Court is also affecting them.

He also raised concern about inadequate quarters for staff nationwide as well as inadequate medical service for both inmates and staff.

Mr. Kamara raised several other major concerns including the death of inmates that are expected to be released in good health.

He therefore emphasized the need for improved welfare conditions for both inmates and staff with increased co-operation, coordination and collaboration with other stakeholders in the criminal justice system, and the strengthening of the security system.

He reminded the Committee of the Sierra Leone Correctional Act of 2014 that calls for the positions of a Director General, Deputy Director General and four Directors, and the formation of a Correctional Council.

By Mohamed Y. Turay

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