The commission noted a total number of 250 inmates in detention which exceeds the capacity of 80 inmates for which the center was established. Of the numbers of inmates, there were 50 convicted males and 3 convicted female. 130 men were on trial and 5 women with 48 male and 5 female on remand.
HRCSL also observed challenges regarding the availability of safe and clean drinking water, inmates in one cell ranging from 40, 50, 60 and 70, and some inmates on long or frequent adjournments. There were only few elderly persons out of the 250 inmates as the rest are in their youthful age. The inmates complain bitterly of lack of ventilation in their cells and the roof and ceiling are made of zinc that produces more heat during the dries.
During the monitoring, HRCSL observed that majority of the male inmates were without their jumpers on and they were with either boxers or the correctional short trousers. To show how seriously they have been affected because of lack of ventilation or sanitation, most of them showed how their private parts have been eaten up with scabies or ‘karangba’. Some had scabies and bumps all over their bodies. It was also observed that because some of the inmates could not pay their fines as low as Le100, 000 and Le150, 000 for petty offences, they were remanded. The Sierra Leone Correctional Service Act 2014 was enacted to transform the Sierra Leone Prisons to Correctional Centers. This Act provides for the organization and management of Correctional Centers and other related matters.
The Chairman of HRCSL, Patricia Narsu Ndanema commented after the monitoring that “The general conditions of the correctional center fall below the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of Prisoners and the Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Africa (Robben Island Guidelines) adopted by the African Commission in 2002”.
The HRCSL Chairman calls on the judiciary to take concrete steps to accelerate matters in the courts as well as charge others to court especially for detainees on remand. She also called on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to take urgent steps to replace the ceiling and increase the ventilation of the cells.