By Patrick Stephen Tokpah
GBARNGA-The Gbarnga Central Prison housing some of Liberia’s notorious Criminals is said to be in complete darkness as inmates and correction officers use Chinese light in the county.
Emmanuel N. Duo, Chief of Records at the Entity, who proxied for the Prison’s Superintendent, Richard Z. Mulbah said they are worried about the situation, stating that even though the inmates are in detention but their rights need to be protected.
He alleged that other public facilities in the County have been receiving electricity since the Jungle Energy Power (JEP) entered the County, but the Gbarnga Center Prison that is hosting inmates is yet to be electrified.
The Gbarnga Center Prison Chief of Records further revealed that over the years they have engaged local authorities of the County on the issue of the electrification of the prison facility but to no avail.
He said the prison being part of the Criminal Justice System has a huge responsibility, adding if the Police go about arresting highly cored criminals and subsequently forward them to court and the court sentences them to 30 or 40 years in prison and Correction Officers allow then go back into the society, they will terrorize Liberians.
“So, we are again appealing to our leaders to help us supply the prison facility with electricity. “We have many challenges at the prison facility, but we cannot talk all because of security reasons,” Duo noted.
Additionally, Emmanuel N. Duo said the Gbarnga Central Prison’s population currently is 280 instead of the normal standard capacity of the prison.
He noted though the entity over the years had strived to ensure that the rights of prisoners, including pre-trial detainees are observed, it had been hindered by factors such as overcrowding, budgetary and logistical constraints as well as the slow pace of investigation and prosecution leading to prolonged stay in pre-trial detention.
Mr. Duo noted that out of 280 inmates, 204 are pre-trial detainees while 76 are convicts.