Liberia News: Over 4,000 Inmates At Central Prison

… Prison Fellowship Pleas With Gov’

Monrovia-Repeated annual local and US State Department Human Rights Reports continue to highlight the deplorable conditions and overcrowding of prisons across Liberia.

Now, the trailblazers of prisoners’ welfare in this West African nation, Prison Fellowship Liberia has made a passionate appeal to the ruling Unity Party Alliance government of President Joseph Boakai and international developing partners to invest in the corrections and rehabilitation sector of the country’s justice system, in order to raise the profile of its human rights records

The Fellowship’s Country Director, Reverend Francis Kolliesaid there is a need to decentralize the services of the defense lawyers and demonopolized the legal services of justice system, so as to reduce the overcrowding of prisons and make access to justice accessible and affordable.

Addressing a press conference in Paynesville recently, Rev. Kolle encouraged the government of Liberia through the office of the President to detach the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice from the Ministry thus making it an autonomous agency for efficacy and effective.

According to him, the Prison Fellowship Liberia is willing to work with the current leadership of the Ministry of Justice and the Liberian government in order to seek international support in meeting the Prison Minimum Standard Rules in ensuring the rights of inmates are respected and provide them with adequate skills in preparing them to re-integrate into the society when they are released

The Prison Fellowship Liberia Country Director also proposing that the laws that prohibits foreign lawyers in Liberia’s jurisprudence be amended and be revisited by the Liberian Bar Association and the Judiciary for best international practice.

Recently, the United States Department released its 2023 human rights reports portraying a dehumanizing and life-threatening conditions at the Monrovia Central Prison and other prison facilities in other parts of the country.

The Prison Fellowship-Liberia’s Director said this needs to be corrected and prevented in order to avoid the replica of such account about Liberia in the United States Department human rights report

According to the Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice, the population of inmates in prison facilities in Liberia continues to increase with the latest number put between 3,500 to 4,000 with almost 85 percent consist of pre-trial detainees thus creating over-crowdedness.

The overcrowding of the prison wards in their large number is also a burden to the national government considering the hike in the prices of basic commodities including the country’s stable, rice. Moreover, it provides the spring-board for the spread of communicable diseases, heat and inconvenience for inmates as a result of the over crowdedness

In order to for the children of inmates and spouses not be abandoned, the PF-Liberia with support from Prison Fellowship International and other donors is providing scholarships to over 510 children of inmates, paying for their tuitions, uniforms, book bags, shoes and medical bills so as they cannot be left behind in terms of education, training and health services f the country.

Over the years, PFL with the support from the United Nation Development Programme, UN Women, UNICEF, OSF and other donors provided some legal assistance to inmates across the country but the project has slowed down in the wake of donor fatigue and funding gaps.

Considering the prevailing circumstances, PFL Country Director is also pleading with the government and donor community to assist in the construction of the new prison facility in the Township of Cheeseman- burg, Montserrado County to help mitigate the current conditions of prisoners across Liberia.

Reverend Kollie recommended that serious consideration should be given to the Alternative Dispute Resolution program at the Ministry of Justice so as to settle some of the minor cases outside court that contributing to the overcrowding of prisons and docket of courts.

Comments are closed.