From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Prisons Boss Dismissal Condemned
By Aruna Turay
Dec 8, 2010, 14:16

A civil society organization called Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) has strongly condemned the dismissal of the Director of Prisons Department, Mr. Moses Showers.

The service of Showers was terminated on Monday 6th December 2010 following the escape of nineteen hardcore criminals from the Pademba Road maximum prisons.

Speaking on national radio, CGG Coordinator, Valnora Edwin, described the dismissal as unjustifiable and unacceptable.

“In view of the fact that an investigation committee has already been set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the escape, one would have expect that the prisons boss faces suspension until the investigation is complete,” she said.

She however pointed out that the decision to relieve him of his duty can be looked at in two perspectives. “It is unfortunate as a result of the suddenness, but when one looks at the lapses in the prisons department of which Showers was heading, it becomes a different issue altogether,” she pointed out.

CGG’s Edwin used the forum as an opportunity to voice out her eagerness in seeing the prisons officers who were on duty and possibly aided the escape, plus all other culprits, brought to book. “My eagerness is based on the fact that the Director of Prisons, who has faced the sack, was nether responsible for opening and closing of the prisons gates nor was it his duty to screen visitors entering and leaving the prisons premises,” she said, adding that the officers on duty were expected to provide maximum security in and outside the prisons premises.

She stressed on the fact that the Sunday the escape took place was not a visiting day at the Pademba Road prisons, whilst blaming the officers on duty for allowing unscreened visitors at the expense of laid down rules and security.

The CGG head furthered that bribery, meager salary and manipulation are among the numerous factors responsible for the lapses at the central prisons.

Edwin exposed that most convicts are presently walking the streets of the country as free men and women as a result of the activities of prisons officers.

“Irrespective of the fact that the Justice Sector Development Programme (JSDP) has been investing a lot towards improving the prisons department, it is evident that a lot more needs to be done,” she disclosed, whilst advising that all stakeholders must put hands on deck so as to achieve the desired results.

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