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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone,Kenema Prison in Deplorable Condition
By Paul Lamin in Kenema
Feb 4, 2011, 17:06
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Officer in-Charge (OC) of the Kenema Prisons Services, Mr. Moses Bob Sonny, has called on the Government of Sierra Leone to pay attention to the department by providing them with modern prison facilities.

Moses Bob Sonny made this call while addressing journalists in a conducted tour of prison facilities past weekend in that eastern headquarter city. According to O.C Sonny, the status of the Kenema prisons is terrible, noting that it lacks modern facilities and sober infrastructural outlook. He said the prison which was constructed in 1890 was with the capacity to accommodate not more than fifty inmates but that increase in population and crime rates have seen hundreds of inmates being accommodated there now. With the huge increase in the spate of crime within the district, the prison can no longer cope with such a flooding increase of prisoners, he confided.  He said the most serious case is with the male cells which he informed currently accommodates over 170 (One hundred and seventy) inmates. This, Mr. Sonny went on, makes it very difficult for the few prison officers to adequately oversee inmates. This also borders on the security of the prisons and inmates because with such an old-fashioned, congested and deplorable prison service, the safety and security of prisoners would never be guaranteed.

Speaking on the nature of crimes mostly perpetrated by criminals and offenders in the district, O.C Bob Sonny disclosed that unlawful canal knowledge, unlawful possession of contraband drugs, larceny, fraudulent conversion, burglary and house breaking and conspiracy among others are the major crimes often reported. He revealed how recently ten convicts received sentences of ten years imprisonment for committing unlawful carnal knowledge, followed by three others who he said also received five and seven years sentences respectively for unlawful possession of cannabis sativa.

One of the disadvantages of the dilapidation, according to the OC, is that since the prison has no fence surrounding its circumferences, six inmates last year escaped from prisons though they were later re-arrested and transferred to the maximum prisons in Freetown.   He therefore used the interview as an opportunity to call for governments assistance in constructing a perimeter fence and improve on the conditions of inmates as well as the workers.


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