Crowded Prison

Reporter

-Asst. Justice Minister Wants It Relocated

By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.

Assistant Justice Minister for Correction and Rehabilitation, Eddie Tarawali said the presence of the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) in the heart of the capital city poses serious security threat to the capital and its inhabitants due to overcrowdiness.

Monrovia Central Prison (MCP)

Minister Tarawali is therefore urging central government relocate the overcrowded prison.

“The dominance challenges at our prison facilities is prison overcrowdiness and under these conditions, it is the responsibility of the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice to provide the necessary environment pertaining to care of our inmates, therefore, we recommend that the Monrovia Central Prison be relocated,” Minister Tarawali recommends to central government.

Minister Tarawali made the assertion recently when a joint team of the Ministry of Justice through the Department of correction and Rehabilitation alongside the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) paid a visit at the Monrovia central prison.

The Assistant Minister for correction and rehabilitation with direct supervision over the Monrovia Central Prison also stated that the prison is confronted with many challenges that need to be swiftly handled.

Minister Tarawali named the overcrowdiness of the Monrovia Central Prison as one of its major challenges coupled with the issue of medication and feeding for inmates at the prison facility.

prisoner at MCP

“One of our paramount issue here is the issue of our medical facility for our inmates, many at times we ourselves have to personally escort our inmates to an outside medical facility, like the JFK and also the feeding of the inmates is another genuine concern confronting the prison facility.” Minister Tarawali noted.

Minister Tarawali disclosed that the Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Justice already has 40 acres of land within the Chessmanburg area for the relocation of the Monrovia Central prison.

At the same time, Assistant Minister Tarawali indicated that he wants the government through the Ministry of Justice implement the rehabilitation aspect of the prison, thus, he wants prisoners to be able to learn vocational education while in prison.

Tarawali said he hopes in the not too distant future that the various prison facilities across the country be made to produce all public schools’ chairs, uniforms and repair all government vehicles in the country.

He believes that this would help rebrand prisoners so as to be reintegrated back within the Liberian society where they can also equally contribute to rebuilding process of the country.

For his part, Justice Minister, Cllr. Musa Dean said that he is trouble by the number of pretrial detainees within the Monrovia Central prison and other prison facilities across the country, this, he would release those in prison for what he calls petty crimes.

“We are troubled by the number of pretrial detainees. Everyone should have his/her day in court. The system is stretched, the capacity is limited to an extent, but we are engaged in a project that will lead to curtailing this problem,” Minister Dean stressed.

Minister Dean said he is not happy with the figure of pretrial detainees, terming it as unacceptable and as such, it needs to be handled.

“We have a fast track court within the prison and we will be reviewing that to see how effective it is and the result that are there will be achieved. We also intent to introduce new legislations, amendments and repeals that will determine how crimes are detected, how arrest is made and by whom and how said crimes can be brought to the appropriate knowledge of those responsible so that there is fast and speedy trial,” Minister Dean revealed.

Meanwhile, the Monrovia Central prison which was built for three hundred (300) inmates now host over one thousand plus inmates of which eight hundred-thirty-six are pretrial, two fifty-eight convicts and forty-three foreigners.

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