By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
Assistant Minister for correction and rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice, Eddie Tarawali is calling on central government to make the Bureau of Correction and rehabilitation an autonomous agency.
Monrovia Central Prison
Assistant Minister Tarawali said the three components of Liberia’s criminal justice system are very vital to national security, thus, the police, the court, the correction and the police and court are not autonomous and they operate on their own scope of operations subjected to the Ministry of Justice.
“We want to propose to your office, that under these circumstances of financial constraints, medical issues and other difficulties that are confronting the bureau of correction, we want project to you Mr. Minister that the bureau of correction and rehabilitation be an autonomous agency,” Tarawali recommends.
Minister Tarawali made the call recently when a joint team from the Ministry of Justice through the Department of correction and Rehabilitation alongside the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) paid a visit at the Monrovia central prison.
At the same time, Assistant Minister Tarawali said the presence of the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) in the heart of the capital city poses serious security threat to the capital and its inhabitants.
He wants the prison relocated from the center of the capital to what he calls a suitable location, Chessmanburg, outside Monrovia, noting that this would also help reduce the overcrowded of the prison.
“Under no contemporary time you have a major prison facility in the heart of the city, this has the propensity and proclivity to security threat and as such; the relocation of the Monrovia central prison must be highly considered,” Assistant Minister Tarawali warned.
Minister Tarawali disclosed that the Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Justice already has 40 acres of land within the Chessmanburg area for the relocation of the Monrovia Central prison.
The Assistant Minister for correction and rehabilitation with direct supervision over the Monrovia Central Prison also stated that the prison is confronted with many challenges that need to be swiftly handled.
Minister Tarawali named the over crowdedness of the Monrovia Central Prison as one of its major challenges coupled with the issue of medication and feeding for inmates at the prison facility.
“One of our paramount issue here is the issue of our medical facility for our inmates, many at times we ourselves have to personally escort our inmates to an outside medical facility, like the JFK and also the feeding of the inmates is another genuine concern confronting the prison facility.” Minister Tarawali noted.