A local non-governmental organization ‘Prison Watch- Sierra Leone’ has donated a huge consignment of humanitarian items to ameliorate the deplorable condition of female prisoners at the maximum security Pademba Road Prisons in Freetown.
The items include 40 mattresses, 40 blankets, 4 dozen slippers, 1 baby walker and 2 bags of used clothing.
The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Local Government Hadiru Kaloko said government was aware of all the problems confronting the prisons and disclosed that plans are in the pipe line to address those problems and to even relocate some of the prisoners.
He said male prisoners out number female prisoners all over the world but noted that the number of female prisoners is fast growing throughout the country.
The Commissioner and Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, Jamesina King said her organization was concerned about the numerous human rights violations.
She therefore called on government, through the local government ministry to provide facilities at the detention centre.
She maintained that the judiciary has a vital role to play as most inmates or detainees are either on trial or awaiting trail.
She pointed out that the detention centres are overcrowded and lack most of the basic amenities ranging from lack of bedding to basic medical facilities.
“These prolonged trials either by lack of resources or otherwise by the judiciary could be a factor for the crowding of these prisons” she opined.
Before he handed over the gesture to the prison administration, the Programme Coordinator Prison Watch Mambu Feika stated that “it is an open secret that Sierra Leone prisons do not meet basic human standards.” He said they are doing their best to improve on the lives of prisoners especially the female prisoners who constitute the most vulnerable group, adding that the primary and principal responsibility of assisting prisoners rest on government.
He disclosed that a couple of days ago, they donated some 18 dozen soap to prisons, but observed that government should not continue to hire contractors to supply soap to prisons, as prisoners were now well trained to manufacture soap for themselves.
“We will continue to monitor prisons until government turns attention to the plight of these prisoners” he said.
Receiving the gesture, the acting Director of Prisons M.A Showers recalled that there had been an outstanding working relationship with the Prison Watch, through monitoring and rendering other meaningful services to the prisoners.
He said the monitoring exercise undertaken by Prison Watch was in place, as it would keep them on their toes.
He however pleaded with other organizations to emulate Prison Watch- Sierra Leone