Prison Fellowship Liberia (PFL) has appealed to the United Nations Development Programme, the United States Embassy in Liberia and other international partners to help improve prison conditions across the country .
Country Director, Reverend Francis Kollie said the Liberian prison system faces multiple challenges.
Formally handing over the keys to the newly renovated library, records room and warehouse to the Ministry of Justice in Monrovia, Reverend Kollie said Prison Fellowship Liberia will continue to support the efforts of the Liberian government and international partners to improve conditions of detention to meet international standards.
The facilities were renovated by Prison Fellowship Liberia in partnership with Logos Hope.
The library and records room were filled with approximately 2,000 books and furniture for the use of inmates and officers of the Justice Department’s Office of Corrections and Rehabilitation, among others.
The program was honored by senior staff of Prison Fellowship Liberia, Col. Varney Lake, Superintendent of Monrovia Central Jail, among others.
PFL spent over US$10,000 to renovate the library, records room and warehouse at Monrovia Central Jail.
The PFL Country Director noted that there are still multiple challenges such as lack of adequate prison rehabilitation programs, overcrowding of prisons, lack of food storage and adequate medical facilities and supplies as well as insufficient space to accommodate prisoners and detainees in the country’s 16 prisons.
“Most detention centers are not human rights and rehabilitation friendly due to less support to correctional institutions in Liberia,” he said, and added, “It is in this context that the PFL continues to seek the assistance of friendly partners, including the United Nations agencies, embassies and other humanitarian organizations such as Logos Hope International which has partnered with the PFL to carry out the renovation of these facilities.
“They provided partial funding of about 45% while the PFL provided 55% of the funding and materials to do this work.
It is our hope and aspiration that our efforts to provide decent prison conditions will add value and improve our human rights records which have been tainted over the years, especially the rights of prisoners, because we are all aware of it. »
Reverend Kollie emphasized that rebuilding Harper’s Jail in Harper City, Maryland County is critical to restoring the dignity of prisons in Liberia’s justice reforms.
“In the Liberian government, we want to remind the Ministry of Justice that we are still awaiting the release of 500 prisoners from our detention and prison centers as mandated by President George Weah because we believe that the delay creates a lot of uncertainty in the spirit of prisoners across the country.”
He revealed that over the past two years, with the support of UNDP, UN Women, UNICEF, OSIWA and others, PFL has provided legal assistance to over 3,000 prisoners, who have come into contact and conflict with the law and have rehabilitated over 500 prisoners across the country.
Upon receiving the keys, Justice Department Director of Prison Rev. Samuel Kwaida revealed that the Justice Department’s Bureau of Corrections has begun selecting the names of inmates who will benefit from the recently granted executive clemency. by President Weah.
According to him, the Liberian prison system has about 800 sentenced inmates and executive leniency cannot be extended to inmates awaiting trial.
He warned the Superintendent of Monrovia Central Jail to appreciate the gesture of Prison Fellowship Liberia in maintaining the facilities.
Rev. Kwaida assured the National Director of PFL that the facilities will be used for their intended purpose.
Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program at the Department of Justice, Gobah Anderson, said that since the establishment of his department, the PFL was the first and only institution to make donations to the department.