By Ndey Sowe
The Ministry of Interior in a press release dated Wednesday, 23 August indicated that State Central Prison, Mile 2 has digital records and well-equipped clinic facilities as part of ongoing reforms.
The release said the Ministry wishes to clarify that contrary to reports in sections of the media, the Gambia Government remains firmly committed to reforming the prison services in accordance with international standards for penal and correction practice.
“Significantly, the Mile 2 Central Prisons in Banjul and all other facilities of The Gambia Prison Services (GPS), across the country have operating clinics with health personnel meeting the healthcare needs of the inmates within close proximity,” the Ministry stated.
It added the Ministry has also established a Prison Visiting Committee (PVC) for each prison Centre to conduct quarterly visits in order to check the conditions of the prison and recommend improvements.
The Ministry went on: “As part of the ongoing reforms, GPS in partnership with UNDP has created a digital records office and a case management unit operated by trained prison officials. To help expedite court proceedings for inmates, paralegal offices have been established in all the prison centres with the support of Justice Defenders, a UK Charity, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Justice.”
The Ministry indicated that notably, under the leadership of His Excellency President Adama Barrow, significant prison reforms have been undertaken such as the development of a new prison bill, the establishment of technical and vocational skills centres for inmates, improvement of prison clinics, the introduction of education facilities for juvenile inmates and building new prison facilities.
The Ministry added that crucially prison reform is a key component for the overall National Security Sector Reform (SSR) process that The Gambia Government is advancing according to international best practices.
It adds that the Ministry of Interior enjoins the public to cooperate in the implementation of the ongoing necessary penitentiary reforms.