By Yankuba Jallow
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) have on Wednesday 3rd April 2019 visited Janjangbureh Prisons.
The TRRC delegation was received by Commissioner of Prisons, Bubacarr Jatta. He told the Commission (TRRC) that the prisons have 31 inmates. It was indicated that cells 1 and 3 have no inmates whereas cells 2, 4 and the remand wing all have 10 inmates each. Further, Commissioner Jatta said there is only one female convict. He detailed that this young girl was convicted of baby abandonment.
Touring inside the cells, it was observed that none of the cells has a bed. In cell one; it was observed that there were wooden planks placed on the floor with weak mattresses as beds. It was also observed that the cell has only one window. It was disclosed that the cell was where Lamin Wa Juwara was held incommunicado.
“We don’t use this cell now,” Commissioner Jatta said.
Two cells that contain convicted inmates have wooden planks that serve as beds. Each plank has an old mattress with a bed sheet. It was observed that each of the cells has 9 windows without mosquito proofs. Each of the cells has two toilets without doors. There were no mosquito nets.
The Remand Wing has similar things like the convict cells. The only difference was that each bed has a bed net.
Like other detention centres, inmates at the Janjangbureh complain of rights violations.
“I am charged with rape. I have been here for over a year and the case is not making headway. I miss my court days,” one Sellou Jallow said.
“I am charged with attempted rape. I was brought here in August 2018 and no witness has testified in the case. I missed going to court and I am left in limbo about the case,” one Ebrima Camara said.
One Muhammed Bah claimed that he is a teenager (16 years) held in the cell with adult remanded inmates.
Commissioner Jatta told the TRRC that out of the 31 inmates, 1 is a Senegalese, 1 Ivorian and 2 citizens of Guinea Bissau.
The delegation proceeded to the new convict cells constructed in 2015. The new structure has almost similar conditions like the remand wing and the other conviction cells. The only difference is it has a larger space.
One of the inmates who doubles as the cook testified that the food that is served to the inmates is good and palatable. He said they are faced with the challenge of getting a milling machine, adding that it is the inmates who pound grains using pestles and mortars. The other inmates mentioned similar sentiments about their food.