#Headlines

Interior minister accuses Jammeh of neglecting prisons

Mar 25, 2021, 10:40 AM | Article By: Adama Tine

The minister of Interior Yankuba Sonko yesterday stated that under the Yahya Jammeh regime, The Gambia Prison Service was largely neglected while its mandate was abused as well.

Sonko made these remarks at Jama Hall, during the launching of the Rapid Prisons Assessment Report, Photobook and Video Documentary organised by the Ministry of Interior in partnership with The Gambia Prisons Services and UNDP.

It was revealed that after decades of maladministration, the Prisons Service is on the road to reform and progress in line with Mandela Rules and International Human Rights standards and facing a challenging environment with dilapidated infrastructure, lack of equipment, ICT and mobility but the prisons personnel are committed to improving the standard of care to inmates.

“Already under the strain, the Prisons Service suffered a severe shock when the pandemic reached our shores and immediately red flags were raised around the overcrowding in Mile 2’s Remand Wing. There were a total of 543 detainees, 19 of which were juveniles at the end of April,” Sonko pointed out.

According to him, there is an opportunity to change our prison facilities to accommodate the needs of inmates, adding that juveniles in detention need very different care and attention than adult inmates, while an education programme at minimum is needed to ensure the youth do not fall behind and into further criminality.

He continued that a vocational training programme is also needed for young men to ensure that when they are released, they have secured skills to provide for themselves and their families which would in turn make reintegration smoother.

“The prison is the end of the justice chain. It is where our most vulnerable citizens are kept under the care of the state. All actors in the justice chain, from the arresting officer, to the prosecutor and defense counsel to the judge issuing the final verdict play an essential role in maintaining public order, upholding the rule of law and ensuring the protection of human rights,” he explained.

For her part, the UNDP Resident Representative Aissata De, said the Gambia’s prisons have been in need of improvement for the longest time, the design under the colonial era were far from international human rights standards and over the years, the reputation of The Gambia Prisons has not been positive.

She added that the recent revelations from the TRRC brought out the torture, inhuman and degrading treatment that prisoners endured and limited capacities of the personnel that were prevalent in the administration of prisons.

Read Other Articles In Headlines
Nyockeh
NFTR extols ADB for support
Apr 1, 2021, 11:29 AM

The president of the Network of Financial and Tax Reporters (NFTR) – The Gambia Chapter has strongly applauded the African Development Bank through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for the unflinching support in training 30 journalists on the basic principles of the Public Procurement Authority (GPPA).

Amson Sibanda
‘Investing in MSMEs contribute to eradication poverty’
Dec 17, 2020, 11:14 AM

Amson Sibanda, Chief, National Strategies and Capacity Building Branch, Division for Sustainable Development Goals (UNDESA) has said that investing in MSMEs would not only contribute to the eradication of poverty and create employment opportunities, but also generate positive spillover effect that extend social benefits to the lives of African people, especially the poor and people in vulnerable situations.

Alieu Jobe
Ex-accountant general says soldiers wanted him president, had 2006 coup succeeded
Nov 24, 2020, 11:17 AM

A former accountant general, who worked under former president Yahya Jammeh, yesterday testified before the TRRC, revealing his involvement in the 2006 abortive coup and his subsequent detention at Mile 2 and NIA Headquarters. 

Mai Fatty v5
Barrow’s ECOMIG decision generates condemnation
Feb 1, 2021, 12:42 PM

The Gambian opposition parties and activist have condemned the decision of President Adama Barrow on the extension of ECOMIG’s mission in the country to December 2021 and also allowing the support of police units from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal and Togo once the ECOMIG is transformed into a police mission.