#Article (Archive)

About improving prison conditions

Apr 8, 2014, 9:58 AM

It is also good to hear that prison conditions in The Gambia are being attended to, so as to improve them.

This was announced in the statement by the head of state on the occasion of the state opening of the National Assembly.

We were informed that the prisons service has embarked on rehabilitation projects at the state central prison Mile 2; the construction of new cells at Janjangbureh prison in the central river region; as well as new visitor’s rooms, a tailoring workshop, a library and renovation of the central storage facility at Mile 2 prison.

Plans for the country’s prisons include expansion of Old Jeshwang prison, where the prisons wing for females will be relocated, and more space created at Mile 2 prison, we were further informed.

Indeed, this is good news, considering the fact that there have been reports of hard conditions in our prisons, relating to the food served to inmates, the tight living space due to over-crowded cells, minimal medical care facilities, and so on.

Reports of access being denied to the ICRC and others have also been heard in the past.

This is why we are glad that the government is taking steps to address conditions in our prisons.

It is completely unnecessary, in our view, to create the possibilities for people to criticize conditions in our prisons; these could be avoided simply by taking action to refurbish the prisons.

This is important; as we have all seen lately, considering that you never know who will be the next person to spend time there!

This includes we the journalists, of course, who by the way have tasted – some of us more than once, as prisoners of conscience - the conditions in our jails.

Thus, we welcome the news that, “the Gambia prison service in its continuous drive to improve prison conditions is working on a comprehensive prison reform agenda for consideration by government.”

"The White House is the finest prison in the world."

Harry S. Truman