By Foday Moriba Conteh
The Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, with funds from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has successfully wrapped up a two-day validation session for proposed amendments to the Sierra Leone Correctional Service Act. This significant event took place at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.
The Two-day validation retreat brought together leaders from various sectors, including the justice sector, Sierra Leone Correctional Service, civil society, the Sierra Leone Police, and the Sierra Leone Parliament, among others.
Addressing members of the Press, the Head of Programs at the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), Jeremy Ben Simbo, said the Sierra Leone Government initially enacted the Sierra Leone Correctional Service Act (SLCS) in 2014 to establish the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, introduce provisions for the organization and management of correctional centers and address the welfare and needs of inmates.
He added that after a few years of implementation, several changes have been proposed to enhance the management system’s effectiveness, address the welfare of correctional officers and protect the rights of inmates.
Jeremy Ben Simbo revealed that the two-day session provided a platform for additional suggestions, improvements to the existing legal text and recommendations on safeguarding the rights of inmates against abuse, furthering that topics discussed included the appointment process for the institution’s leadership, the relationship between the Sierra Leone Correctional Service Council and the Director-General, expanding the rights of female inmates, and ensuring the protection of children born in or living in correctional facilities.
He said that the finalized document will be submitted to the leadership of the Law Officers’ Department for a final review before its introduction in Parliament and that CARL remains committed to supporting this process and keeping citizens informed and engaged.
The Head of Programs concluded by stating that the ongoing review represents a collective effort by the Government of Sierra Leone and its partners to establish an accessible, fair and affordable justice system in the country.