Some 500 officers of the Bureau of Corrections at the Ministry of Justice have decried harsh conditions of service ranging from lack of incentives to salary cut, among others.
“We want government to known that we who are providing security protection to the Bureau of Correction Palace are human beings and should be treated as such by the government”, these are the words of 500 officers of the Bureau of Correction Palace of the Ministry of Justice in Monrovia The officers lamented that they are completely venerable to convicts under their watch due to lack of arm or even cutlass to defend themselves in case of jail break at the state-run prison facility.
The angry correction officers, who begged for anonymity, frowned at government’s alleged refusal to pay them on time in line with the security nature of their job. According to the, the Ministry of Justice has failed to justify why their monthly salary of US$400.00 has been cut to US$130.00, which is also subjected to taxes.
They also alarmed over the reported disappearance of 300 Yamaha motorbikes from the premises of the Ministry of Justice. The bikes were allegedly donated by the Government of China for use by correction officers.
The aggrieved officers claim the MOJ is deducting US$20.00 monthly from their salary to pay the management of the National Transit Authority (NTA) for a bus rental, which most of them are not benefiting from.
The added that the uniform government provided them upon their graduation over a year ago have worn with no new supplies. The prison guards said whenever President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited the bureau and gave a purse to the staff, their bosses would convert the money to Liberian dollars and give each personnel LRD$200, something they described as very denigrating.
They threatened to join Doctors here, who are demanding three months’ salary arears to go-slow if government didn’t do something about their plight. When the office of the Assistant Minister for Rehabilitation SackorSirleaf was contacted on Wednesday on claims made by aggrieved correction officers, staff in the office said Sackor was out of office.
However, a source close to the Justice Ministry who begged for anonymity dismissed the officers’ claims as completely false, misleading and baseless. He also termed as irresponsible, the attitude of some personnel of the correction palace whose intent is to spread falsehood about the good work of the Ministry of Justice.