Ombudsman with DG and Commanders of SLGS


The Ombudsman Leon Jenkins-Johnston and team has on Monday 22nd January 2019 met with the Director General and Commanders of the Sierra Leone Correctional Services at their headquarters at new England Ville. The meeting is a continuation of the familiarization tour undertaken by the Ombudsman to meet with stakeholders and explain the mandate, functions and powers of the Ombudsman.

Giving a background to the meeting the Ombudsman Leon Jenkins-Johnston, said that the relationship between the Ombudsman and the Sierra Leone Correctional Services is established by the Ombudsman’ act of 1997. He revealed that section 7 (a) of the  Ombudsman’s Act explains its function which primarily is to investigate any administrative act of a prescribed authority of which the Sierra Leone Correctional services falls under as a minister is answerable to parliament for the department.

Ombudsman Leon Jenkins-Johnston congratulated the Director General and Team for the good administrative stance to fight against injustice as the Ombudsman did not receive any complaints of maladministration in 2018.

Responding, the Director General, Sierra Leone Correctional Services Sanpha Bilo Kamara thanked the Ombudsman and Team for the visit. He noted that the service has a well-structured organogram that takes into consideration the aspect of injustice.  He told the Ombudsman the he will soon be getting complaints from the institution as they are in the process of weeding out rouge personnel who have recently invaded the recruits. He noted that some of the personnel are under investigation and they will be dismissed soonest for contravening the services rules. He highlighted the some of these personnel’s bring in banned substances into the center and sell to inmates.

Director General Sanpha Bilo Kamara, revealed that the Pademba Road Correctional Centre was built for 324 inmates but now currently holds 2218 inmates which is (7) seven time over its capacity as (9) nine inmates are placed in a cubicle meant for (3) three Inmates. He noted that there is only one bowzer to take water from a source at Regent which cannot supply all the facilities in the city. He noted that the late or non-arrival of subvention adversely affect their work as there is an outstanding of 17 billion Leones owed to contractors for 2018. He also revealed that the vehicles used to carry Prisoners are very old as the cost for repairs are very high.  He revealed that some of the prisoners will be released on the 22nd January in line with the Presidential Clemency made on the 1st of January 2019 by President Julius Maada Bio.

The Ombudsman and Team also made a stop visit to the Female correctional center in New England where the Ombudsman, spoke to all the female inmate. He told the inmates that the office of the Chief Justice is looking into the sentencing pattern within the judiciary so that the courts will be implementing custodial sentencing as against jail terms.

A female inmate on behalf of her fellow inmate thanked the Ombudsman for the visit and ask that he help them in securing indictment for (11) eleven of her colleagues who normally go to court and their cases are not heard. She also pleaded with the Ombudsman to appeal to the Chief Justice for reduce sentencing for female as the sentencing they are receiving are too high. She also asked that the government should try to fine solution for Children who are born within the centers and also to provide medical support to abnormal inmates 

The Ombudsman noted that he will discuss with the Chief Justice on the points made by the Inmates. 

At a brief stopover at the Male Correctional Center at Pademba Road the Ombudsman and Team met with the Regional Commander West Ahmed A. Turay and team. Ombudsman Leon Jenkins-Johnston thanked the Officers for the good work they have been doing amidst the challenges. He encouraged them to do their utmost so that the inmates will service their sentences without fear.

Thanking the Ombudsman and Team for the brief stop, Regional Commander West Ahmed A Turay revealed that a total of 124 inmates are to be released from the Male and Female Correctional Centers. He noted that he will give his fullest support to the work of the Ombudsman. He highlighted the issue of Funding, Medical and backlog payments to contractors.