…House Quotes GAC Report
The General Auditing Commission (GAC) compliance and system audit report has revealed that males and females are being detained in one prison cell under the watch of the Ministry of Justice.
This act exposes women in these prisons to sexual exploitation and abuse including gender based violence, the report revealed.
The Public Accounts and Expenditures Committee of the House of Representatives confirmed this recently during the submission of its report and recommendations on the GAC report for endorsement by plenary.
“In some cases males are not separated from females, and juveniles are not separated from adults. The Assistant Minister for Rehabilitation said they want more money and noted that the ministry has acquired a land in Bensonville to avoid the overcrowdings at the Monrovia Central Prison,” the committee said
Representative Matthew Zarzar, a member of the Committee quoting the GAC report, said prisoners in various correction centers in the leeward counties are not being examined and treated in keeping with the United Nations Standards on the treatment of prisoners.
Representative Zarzar told the House plenary that except the Monrovia Central Prison, the rest of prison centers across the country do not have health facilities to cater to individuals detained.
The Sinoe County lawmaker further said the Ministry of Justice was feeding prisoners once a day, with most of the feeding being done with Bulgur Wheat or farina.
He said when authorities at the Ministry of Justice were contacted by the PAC Committee, they blamed these situations on low budgetary allocation, and admitted that they are unable to do what the law requires due to financial constraints.
Representatives Zarzar noted that the GAC report indicated that various prisons in the country are overcrowded, with 40 percent of prisoners accounting for pretrial detainees who are sleeping on the floor.
According to him, there is no waste disposal policy put in place by the Ministry of Justice which continues to expose these prisoners to health hazard.
The PAC called on the House of Representatives to take into consideration the allocation of more budgetary support to the Ministry of Justice to improve living standard of prisoners in the country.