A non partisan and non profit making civil society advocator, Prison Watch- Sierra Leone, has raised serious concerns over water shortage at the Pademba Road, Moyamba and Pujehun prisons.
At a press briefing yesterday at their Mends Street office the Programme Manager, Mambu Feika, said that in Pujehun, prisoners walked for more than half a mile especially during the dry season to fetch water.
He added that the water situation had unfolded an ugly situation wherein two prisoners at Pademba Road Prisons made an attempt to escape when they were left out to fetch water.
On countless occasions, Mr Feika stressed that water shortage had presented a very ugly situation beyond the critical level of control, noting that this was more acute at the Pademba Road Prisons.
The programme manager revealed that, “this situation has been sometimes alleviated by UNIOSIL”. He noted that his organization drew government’s attention to this very serious problem, stating that this situation if it continued held a very serious potential threat for prisoners and warders.
On hygiene and sanitation, Mr Feika disclosed that prisoners continued to live in extremely squalid and sanitary condition, noting that this was more sensitive at Pademba Road, Kenema, Kono and Pujehun Prisons.
At Pademba Road Prison, he pointed out that sanitary buckets used for urination and toileting were still in use and kept in the same cells with detainees. This, he cried, had very serious health implications.
Commenting on overcrowding, he noted that this was a very serious problem at the Pademba Road Prison, which continued to hold prisoners beyond the critical level of overcrowding (20% above the maximum capacity, which is 389 as at current capacity of above 1000 prisoners).
This, he stated, seriously undermined the security of the prison and had further complications for healthy living.
Mr Feika maintained that his organization viewed the current population capacity as inhuman and degrading to the dignity of all inmates.
This he said violated article 10 of the ICCPR which states that, “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with dignity and respect for the inherent dignity of human persons”.
On medical facilities, Mr Feika said there was a general lack of medical services and facilities in our prisons. Pademba road is the only exception to this. He said there were prisoners and medical staff complaining about insufficient drug supply.