The Deputy Director of Monitoring and Research at the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Brima Kelson Sesay, has disclosed that 250 inmates are currently in detention at the Male Correctional Centre, Pademba Road without indictments.
The Deputy Research Director unveiled the shocking figure during the Commission’s visit to the Chief Justice of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone aimed at addressing the issue of overcrowding at the centre.
According to Mr. Sesay, four inmates who had completed their respective sentences are still incarcerated because committal warrants couldn’t be produced after the burning of Pademba Road correctional centre, with corresponding copies from the Judiciary not produced.
He attributed said glitches as key factors responsible for the overcrowding at the correctional centre, disclosing that the centre is currently housing 1,400 inmates for various offences including murder and robbery with aggravation among others.
In his statement Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards appreciated the Commission’s visit to bring forward what he called “genuine concerns in the administration of justice.”
He pointed out that addressing the issue of overcrowding nationwide has been the hallmark of his administration through the Outdoor Prison Court that was held in September 2019.
He said 47 inmates including the longest serving inmates were released on habeas corpus applications and discharged for want of prosecution, while some were discharged because of the time spent relative to the offences charged.
“If there is overcrowding at the Male Correctional Centre, it would have been recent but not within the timeframe as stated in your findings,” the Hon. Chief Justice said, while calling for the list of the 250 reported inmates without indictments to be formally brought to the Judiciary.
He assured that, “I will ensure that those not yet served with their indictments are served with it without any further delay.”
“In May 2020, I had wanted to concentrate on remand prisoners because I discovered that some magistrates were not granting bail for even minor offences, but COVID-19 placed restriction on this plan,” the Chief Justice added.