Overcrowding at Pademba road prisons
By Hassan G. Koroma
FREETOWN (TV-News24) — Overpopulation of prisoners at the main male correctional center in Sierra Leone — Pademba Road Prisons — has soared and far surpassed its intended capacity when it was first built, a prison official says last week in Freetown.
Foday Ishmael Kamara, Officer In-Charge of the Freetown Correctional Facilities, made the revelations to Justice Momoh Jah-Steven during the closing of the May 2020 High Court Criminal Session.
“My Lord, the Freetown male Correctional Facility was constructed for only three hundred and twenty four inmates, but the facility is now occupied by one thousand, three hundred and eighty five inmates,” Kamara says.
That is more than 300% increase in overcrowding at the prison — which is an all-male facility.
Judge Jah-Stevens, however, says he will take actions to remedy the overpopulation at the correctional facility.
“The number of inmates at the Freetown Male Correctional facility is too much, the facility is crowded, and I am going to decongest it by discharging inmates who cases are not making progress,” Judge Jah-Stevens says.
Of the 1,385 prisoners at the facility, Kamara says, 190 trial inmates that have not yet been indited — but 297 of this have already been indited.
Kamara also informed the court that 301 prisoners are on remand.
487 male prisoners at the facility are currently on trial, while 470 are already sentenced and are serving their various sentences, according to Kamara.
Also included in the population overshoot are prisoners serving life sentences — with others on death penalty sentences, and awaiting to be executed unless overturned by an appeals process.
Kamara furthers that inmates are allocated two hours of exercise time daily and are fed three meals as well.
Kamara suggested to the government to provide more vehicles for all prisons in Freetown so as to facilitate the movement of inmates.
He further recommends the construction and equipping of vocational workshops in the correctional centers by government.