Records of the massacre of prisoners at the main Correctional Center in on Pademba Road in Freetown, 29th April 2019 may have been surreptitiously destroyed, suspicions have reared up reading the just concluded Audit Report.

The April 2019 incident bears questionable findings, as according to the Report, since it occurred, vital records on inmates as pertaining to their legal bearings were not only lost and not yet recovered, but modalities to save the situation seem not put in place.

The Report says, “We further observed that since the April 2019 incident at the Correctional Center, inmates’ records like warrant of release were burnt down. As a result, many inmates are languishing in prison because their warrant of release could not be traced.”

The state of affairs has left critical minds to suspect that even the record of deaths that occurred on 29th April 2019, may have been among those burnt. One can also see easily why inmates who ought to have gained their freedom are still wallowing in the humane enclosure, where understaffed offices have become the order of the day.

Besides, the eyesore of a wailing situation in that Correctional Center indicates appalling and a hellish takeover of circumstances, as the Auditor’s comment during the verification exercise pointed out a worsening situation among inmates in recent times.

Management of the Correctional Center did not provide appropriate or rather a worth to swallow response about the fast deteriorating situation in the Center, according to the auditors.

The Report, while briefing general observations on the hell letting situation at the Correctional Center, reveals the lack of vital facilities for inmates.

“The Centre lacked hospital for first-aid intervention;” it reveals.

Apparently, the Report doesn’t mention about a treatment hospital neither an admittance one, but a first-aid treatment center. The first accommodation of sudden injuries or unexpected collapse of one’s health treated in a first-aid referral care, where a patient is fought on medical warm-up before taken to a main health care facility. The absence of such an infantry medical center in the country’s populous correctional center exposes the lives of inmates to the ransom of indiscriminate deaths.

One could also imagine what the situation would be like in the event of disease outbreaks among inmates!

Further, the lack of adequate safe drinking water in Correctional Centers is a goiter on the throats of managements across the country’s Correctional Centers, as the Audit Report clearly indicates.

The issue is not just about the Availability of drinking water in small quantities, but its adequacy to meet the needs and worse still, the little available is unsafe, with inmates surrounding it thick to drink from without satiating their thirst.

“There was also lack of adequate safe drinking water; as the centers were overcrowded.” states the Report, which furthers that overcrowding is an acute concern because it leads to depression, fatigue, quick spread of diseases, suffocation and many more inhumane conditions.

Conscience is pointing to the lack of human rights in the Centers because of negligence from the authorities entrusted and expected to keep them in accordance with the required standards.

According to Salone Compass Newspaper, the Report, therefore, proffered a pertinent advice:

“We recommended that the Director General in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs should:

ensure that a hospital is built in order to alleviate the severe health conditions of inmates;

ensure that competent personnel are recruited to fill the shortage of staff; ensure that vehicles are procured to facilitate the movement of inmates to court;

de-escalate the issue of delay in indictment to the Registrar General and make frantic efforts to ensure the court clerks in the various courts provide copies of warrant of releases.”

While responding, the Director General (DG) of Sierra Leone Correctional Services (SLCS) made an excuse that the old female inmates department in the facility is being converted into a hospital, and that he is putting his house in order to recruit more personnel to serve the purpose.

The Director General said, “The old female prison at Pademba Road is currently being converted to a hospital where sick inmates will be treated. The institution is on the verge of recruiting staff for the institution and will ensure that competent personnel are recruited to fill the staff shortage”