Sierra Leone Correctional Service Acting Director General Conducts Northern Region Tour

By Abubakarr Harding

Colonel Sulaiman Sheikh Massaquoi, the Acting Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, conducted a comprehensive inspection tour of correctional facilities in the Northern Region from October 19th to October 21st, 2023.

The primary objective of this extensive tour was to acquaint himself with the officers in charge of facilities within the Northern Region. In a candid roundtable discussion, Colonel Massaquoi encouraged these officers and their support staff to approach their duties with a greater sense of dedication. He underscored the importance of their roles, emphasizing that a secure and well-executed job could earn them the respect they rightfully deserve in their families and communities.

Furthermore, the Acting Director General emphasized the humane treatment of inmates under the care of the Correctional Service. He stressed that inmates’ rights and dignity must be respected at all times. Additionally, he addressed the necessity for basic training programs for inmates, ensuring they are equipped with skills that will enable them to reintegrate into society effectively and secure a respectable livelihood upon their release.

Colonel Massaquoi also commended the officers for their vigilance and proactive approach to maintaining safety and security within their respective centers.

During the tour, officers in charge highlighted various challenges they face in their daily operations. Colonel Massaquoi pledged to engage with the appropriate authorities to address those concerns and take necessary actions.

One of the significant highlights of the tour was a visit to the proposed site for the relocation of the Makeni Correctional Centre in Rolakko. The Acting Director General engaged in fruitful discussions with the Paramount Chief and a diverse group of stakeholders on the matter.

The Foreign Consultant and Advisor, Retired Deputy Controller General Afujue Raymond Chuks, provided valuable insights to officers in charge and their subordinates. He emphasized the paramount importance of security as a core focus in correctional operations. He urged the integration of the “big trio” in correctional operations—physical, procedural and dynamic security—as fundamental in executing their daily responsibilities. Chuks also stressed the need for ongoing training at both national and international levels to enhance job performance.

Chuks further emphasized the critical nature of safeguarding keys and ensuring that inmates do not gain access to the keys box. He recommended that the camp master be responsible for the primary keys, while the officers in charge, residing in close proximity to the center, should maintain spare keys for immediate access during emergencies.

In addition to these directives, Chuks advised officers in charge to provide incoming inmates with a thorough briefing regarding their rights and responsibilities and to clearly articulate the penalties for violations. He also called for heightened vigilance among gate lodge officers, as any lapses in security at the entrance could have severe consequences.

Lieutenant Colonel Gogra, the Director of Security and Operations, urged all officers to maintain a heightened level of security consciousness. He further recommended that officers in charge routinely double-check locks after securing inmates for the night. Collaboration with sister security forces was also emphasized as an essential aspect of their duties.

Colonel Massaquoi’s tour of the Northern Region facilities and his engagement with officers and stakeholders signify a renewed commitment to ensuring that the Sierra Leone Correctional Service upholds its mission of safety, security, and effective rehabilitation of inmates. The insights and directives provided by the Acting Director General and his team are expected to contribute to the enhanced performance and integrity of the correctional service in Sierra Leone.


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