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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

Lack of prison poses threat to citizens’ lives

By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County

The magistrate of the Pleebo Magisterial Court in Pleebo Sodokan district, Maryland County alarms that the lack of prison facility in the southeastern county poses a serious threat to community dwellers.

Harper Central Prison, the only palace of correction and rehabilitation in Maryland County, is currently in ruin, nearly five months after angry citizens demanding justice for the gruesome murder of a student and motorcyclist, vandalized the facility and attacked a police station.

As a result, the general justice and rule of law system in the county appears to be paralyzed.

According to Magistrate A. Boyee Mah, pretrial detainees are either held at Fish Town Correctional Palace in next door River Gee County or they are taken further to Zwedru Correctional Palace in Grand Gedeh County due to the poor state of the prison in Pleebo.

dilapidated prison

Though the road is paved, a drive from Harper, Maryland to Fish Town, River Gee takes several hours and extending to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County on a totally rough road takes nearly five hours.

The transportation fare per person is L$3,000 on a commercial motorbike and is between L$1,500 to L$1,800 on a public transport vehicle.

Magistrate Mah sees the situation as something challenging hence, he seeks urgent intervention from government.

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Speaking in an interview over the weekend, he said the lack of prison poses a serious burden on the court’s ability to dispense justice.

Further lamenting the dilemma, he said the court usually finds itself in a ‘catch-22’ situation in which they don’t have the resources to transport defendants to the Fish Town Correctional Palace and won’t risk releasing them back into the community without prosecution.

In some cases, the Pleebo Magisterial Court judge indicates that complainants or people directly victimized are the ones who go the extra mile in facilitating the transportation of defendants.

However, in cases where complainants can’t afford, “it can be a difficult situation,” he says.

When asked about the situation during an appearance on a community radio station in the county, Maryland County Superintendent George Prowd preferred to reserve comment.

It is not clear why he failed to say a word on the matter concerning the county’s only correction palace.

However, analysts suggest that the Superintendent didn’t want to discuss such a crucial issue with the public at the moment, owing to its sensitivity or to prematurely disclose efforts underway to address the situation.

Angry protesters in Pleebo City, Maryland County, including commercial motorcyclists set ablaze the residence of Speaker Bhofal Chambers and the prison compound, demanding a speedy investigation into the gruesome murder of Student Modicious Nyemah on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at about 10 A.M.

Speaker Chambers is a lawmaker, who represents Pleebo, Sodokan District in Maryland County.

Several suspects were subsequently arrested, charged, and detained at the Zwedru Correctional Palace in Grand Gedeh County, pending trial.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/fire-guts-4-bedroom-apartment-in-maryland/ Editing by Jonathan Browne

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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