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TRRC hints need for prison facilities with democratic standards

May 17, 2022, 12:02 PM | Article By: Ali Jaw

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has recommend for the building of new prison facilities which are up-to-date and aligns with democratic standards.

This is a recommendation the commission reached, after its findings that Mile II, as well as other prison facilities across the country, are unfit for human beings.

"The housing facilities in Mile II Central Prison are substandard, degrading and not fit for human habitation. Considering the cost complications of rehabilitating the facilities, the Commission deems it imperative to build new facilities that are suitable for prisoners in a modern democratic society," the TRRC report states.

The commission also recommends that "appointments to all positions in the prison service, in particular leadership positions, should be based on merit and appropriate academic qualifications."

"An approved scheme of service should be developed for the prison service detailing the minimum qualifications for each position and providing all categories of staff equal opportunity to grow in the service without any form of discrimination."

"The existing archaic prison laws should be repealed and replaced with modern and progressive laws that meet the requirements of a modern democratic society and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners."

"It is inhumane and cruel to have prisoners sleep in toilets or be jampacked like sardines. The government should provide enough facilities to cater for the requirements of the prison population," the report further outlines.

"The Jeshwang Prison for young offenders should be geared towards rehabilitating rather than punishing and should be resourced with recreational, educational and counselling facilities."

"Janjanbureh Prisons is also in need of rehabilitation. The female prison population is small. Hence, a proper cell needs to be provided for the female inmates. Long periods of pre-trial detention have been a major problem in all the prisons in the country."

The government has also been urged to put in place a system that will ensure that pre-trial detainees are tried within a reasonable period of time and in a manner respecting all their rights.

"Adequate resources should be provided for food and medication. The prison diet should be reviewed and improved to a sufficient standard of adequate wholesome food, such that prisoners are provided with three balanced meals a day."

"All cooks and food handlers who work in the prison should always be given the appropriate training necessary to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively and efficiently. The government should put in place a system to provide regular medical check-ups for cooks and food handlers in order to ensure that they are healthy and do not transmit communicable

diseases."

"All prisons should be equipped with modern cooking facilities. The prison service should enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health to attach qualified health personnel in the various prison clinics and provide adequate/ appropriate training for prison staff attached to the clinics."

"All prisons should be provided with adequate quarantine cells to contain infectious diseases. Alternatively, persons suffering from such diseases should be removed from prison and placed under adequate care until they recover to continue their prison term. This is even more critical now in view of the COVID-19 Pandemic."

The report also elaborates that government should ensure inspection of prison facilities by competent persons at regular intervals to ensure that the facilities are clean, hygienic, safe and fit for human habitation.

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