It is now very glaring that if you in prison or better put correctional centre in Sierra Leone your chances of survival and not contracting the Ebola virus disease is greater than being a freeman.
Sierra Leone has 17 Correctional Centrs and three juvenile offenders’ homes, which is spearheading a three-month programme to prevent Ebola transmission in prisons.
These prisons according to the Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre Mohamed Opito Jimmy have not had any confirmed Ebola cases and no inmate had died from Ebola since May 25th when Ministry of Health and Sanitation declared the first confirmed Ebola case in the country.
I must commend the leadership of the of Sierra Leone Prisons for keeping inmates safe amid the Ebola virus disease which has claimed the lives 1,648 and confirmed infected cases 6,238 as of December, 5th referencing the National Ebola Response Centre daily update.
Sierra Leone has around 3,000 inmates. Most of its prisons are badly overcrowded. The main prison in the capital Freetown, for instance, was meant for 324 prisoners, but currently houses 1,919.
The Prison Watch in Sierra Leone an NGO advocating for the welfare of inmates in detention is aiming to get 500 inmates released to help ease congestion. Since launching the prison safety programme in September, it has helped secure the release of 50 detainees on bail. Another 100 have been freed for lack of evidence, and it has also obtained fines rather than custodial sentences for others.
The EVD which started from Eastern Kailahun and there is a Correctional centre there up to date the centre have not reported any confirmed or suspected case of Ebola. The same for Freetown Pademba Road Prison housing over 1,919 inmates.
Mohamed Jimmy told mysierraleoneonline.com that the Government through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other non-governmental organization to increase their support to the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre especially during this Ebola crisis. They lack adequate water supply, cleaning equipment like, soaps, dettol, mopping sticks, buckets, they also need drugs in the centres to treat inmates, Personal Protective Equipment for Ebola prevention, they lack medical staff and beds across the correctional centres in the country.
As this medium is counting the successes of the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre during thie Ebola outbreak, we are asking the government to pay close attention into our prisons in order to ensure that inmates are continuing to be safe and officers working at the centres are well protected by giving them what is required to keep inmate safe from contratig Ebola.
May God forbid Ebola outbreak in our prisons, it will be disastrous considering the issue of overcrowding and poor hygiene conditions.
By: Sallieu Sesay Mysierraleoneonline.com