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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Shake Up at Correctional Services

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Shake Up at Correctional Services

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Mr. Lamboi was Deputy Director General of the institution until his former boss, Sanpha Bilo Kamara, stepped down last month after attaining the official retirement age.

Dennis Harman has been appointed Deputy Director General. The position he has also been occupying in an acting capacity since the retirement of Bilo Kamara.

Both appointments were made public by the SLCS through a statement issued via its Public Relations Office on Thursday.

However, the two appointments are subject to parliamentary approval.

The New DG, according to AYV investigations, joined the service in September 1980. He has held several positions, from Welfare Officer, Officer-in- Charge of several district Correctional centers, Commandant of the Correctional Service Training School, to Public Relations Officer. Mr. Lamboi also served as Advisor to the UN Mission in Sudan, (UNMIS).

The SLCS comprises 16 facilities nationwide. 

The most popular among them is the main detention center in Freetown, formerly officially known as Freetown Central Prison but better known as Pademba Road Prison, because of its location on the popular Pademba Road.

Sierra Leone’s prison system, notorious for its state of overcrowding, is undergoing a reform. 

The renaming from the Sierra Leone Prisons to the Sierra Leone Correctional Services was a part of that reform which began with the passing of the Sierra Leone Correctional Services Act in 2014.

It is all part of the ‘Transforming from Prisons to Corrections’ project, which is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with support from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the US Department of State. 

The goal, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, is to change it from a place of punishment to a place of reformation. 

This means that prisoners will be provided opportunities to learn skills during their incarceration.

But many human rights watchdogs say the change in name has had a very little, if any meaning on the lives of inmates, many of whom complain of violation of their rights. 

There are particular concerns over congestion, poor file management, poor health and welfare of inmates’ condition.

According to the SLCS statement, these concerns are some of the issues Mr. Lamboi says he would address.

At the same time, the new Deputy DG, Dennis Harman, said he is committed to ensuring that inmates get all what is due them, and cautioned that any Correctional officer caught pilfering any item belonging to inmates, would face disciplinary action.

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