Her Voice Liberia (HVL) and Sister’s Hand (SH), two civil society organisations, have called for special attention to be paid to inmates at various prison facilities in Liberia amidst the Covid-19 lockdown in the country. The organisations stated that inmates of various detention facilities around the country have no way of adhering to some of the Covid-19 preventive measures such as social distancing due to prison congestions, which makes them vulnerable to the disease outbreak.
According to the Executive Director of HVL, Atty. Margaret Nigba, she stated that social distancing and isolation are major challenges for inmates of various prison facilities around the country due to limited space.
However, she proposed that to manage the situation, there should be a regular examination of every person currently in prison and those that might be taken there during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Correction Officers who move in and out of the prison should be screened to avoid the situation of any possible contamination by these officers who might mingle with people outside and do the same with inmates and likely cause an outbreak in prison facilities. Inmates are in a much-closed environment and due to stress, lack of good nutritional diets and other harsh conditions, they are exposed to diseases’, she said.
Nigba called on President George Weah to consider granting clemency to certain categories of prisoners, including those in jail for misdemeanours, in order to decongest prisons and avoid any outbreak in prison and detention facilities. She said that prison authorities should pay special attention to inmates with existing health problems and ensure they receive the needed treatment to improve their immune system to fight any disease.
She concluded that the two organisations will be very rigorous in monitoring events in prison facilities around the country and also the trend of human rights events in communities and homes.
Source: Front Page Africa
Photo source: Dushan Hanuska