The Sierra Leone Prisons Watch yesterday officially launched their 2006-2007 report on prisons conditions and facilities across the country at the Grass root empowerment office at John Street in Freetown Speaking at the launching, the programme manager of the Sierra Leone prisons watch Mambu Fekai said his organization is committed to ensuring that people held in detention are treated with respect and their rights as human beings are duly recognized and protected as provided for by international and other acceptable standards.
He disclosed that their activities include training of human rights detention monitors, lobbying, advocacy, documentation and reporting to ensure that people who are held behind the walls of the prison are treated humanely. Mr. Fekai disclosed that funds were received from the Democracy and Human Rights fund (DHRF) of the United States Embassy in Freetown Sierra Leone, to facilitate the visit to all prisons centers and also organize sensitization programmes on the human rights of detainees held in prisons. He disclosed that some of the findings and observations made at the various prisons they visited was that the youth population in prisons have increased drastically, over crowding in cells resulting in inadequate and poor makeshift accommodations, poor medical facilities and feeding, and that there is serious shortage of prison staff at prisons. Ahmed A Turay Prisons staff officer also spoke about their efforts in improving conditions of service for prison officers and facilities for prisoners. He said they are presently working with aid agencies to facilitate skills training for prisoners and literacy education for Pademba and Moyamba prisons, to enable them reintegrate back to their various communities and participate in the sustainable development of the country, after they have learnt their lessons. Other speakers at the launching programme include Commissioner Stanley of the Human Right Commission, Brima Jah of the Sierra Leone Police while Joachim Van Brandt projects coordinator of the US Embassy officially launched the report.