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NEWS

United Nations Correction System Delegation Trapped In Kenema Provincial Prison
Posted by Fayia Amara Fayia on Feb 7, 2010, 09:59

A three- man delegation from the Department Of Peace Keeping Forces of the Correction System of United Nations on Thursday 4th Feb.2010 spent some uncomfortable moment with inmates at the Kenema State Prison apparently against their wish as the inmates together with Prison officers were held from one room to another, one section to another for them to see the deteriorating condition of the prison.

Speaking to this press, the head of the delegation retired Lieutenant General Orit Adato, from Israel said that the purpose of their visit to Sierra Leone was to make needs assessment of the Sierra Leone Prison Department and to find out the gaps, mostly in security and come later with programs to improve on the conditions. The retired Lieutenant General of the Israel Defense Forces has this to say ‘“I have seen the prisons and several things that are needed to promote it, and said the Prison Officer are working hard and the communities are supposed to thank them because of their openness and willingness from the top to the bottom to move on which is very important”.  

She revealed that they have met with the top officials of the Sierra Leone Police Force, the President and his Cabinet Ministers and other important Security Apparatus, adding that when they return their recommendations will be pragmatic and relevant for the development of Sierra Leone and particularly the prison and the security sectors. The Commander of the Kenema State Prison, Mr. Moses Sonny said they were very happy to receive the visitors from Israel and the opportunity provided to them to witness the effort Prison Officers are making to protect the rights and dignity of inmates with scarce resources, coupled with personnel shortage and over crowding among others. 

He thanked the government and its donor partners for the support and called on them to improve on the condition of male prisoners. Mr. Sonny assured the visitors that he and his personnel will do their best to promote the department to accepted prison standards adding that inmates are provided with three-square- meal per day and skill training facilities.  The Prison Commander East, Mrs. Cecilia Kaikai said that there has been great improvement in the Prison Department in the Eastern region in the provision of materials like toiletries and the observance of the right of inmates. She also spoke about the skill training facilities available in prison and the frequent visitation from Human Right officers and Prisons Watch Sierra Leone.

In a related development, the Director of Advoc- Aid, advocating for women in prisons in Sierra Leone, Sabrina Mahtani distributed soaps and other items to inmate of the Kenema Female Prison .Shortly after the distribution she explained to this reporter that her organization has been in operation since 2006 providing skill training programs, legal representations, education, welfare support and post prison facilities for women at the different prisons in the country. She said women at the Sierra Leone prisons do not get family support, legal assistance and even people who can advocate for them.  The Director added that they have started with teaching programs in Kenema and have plans to provide legal representation for women in prison in Kenema, but revealed that her organization is in great need of financial support. She thanked the British High Commission and other donors for their support to her organization.






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