By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County
Nearly seven (7) months now, since the only prison center in Maryland County was vandalized by an angry crowd protesting in demand of Justice for the gruesome murder of a motorcyclist in Pleebo, electoral district#2, County Superintendent George A. Prowd has rallied citizens to buttress government’s renovation of the prison.
Addressing a group of citizens in Pleebo and Harper during a meeting on September 30 and October 1, 2021, respectively, Superintendent Prowd said it was disgusting that after eight months, the prison center is yet to be operational.
The facility was vandalized in March this year by angry protesters who stormed Harper City, demanding Justice for youthful Mordecia Nyema, who was allegedly murdered with body parts extracted.
“The criminals are aware that we don’t have a prison compound,” said Superintendent Prowd, and noted that it was about time the people of Maryland join efforts to temporarily renovate the prison compound.
“I remember that the business community at one point in time was experiencing a lot of problems, and a meeting was held here to the extent that we had to remobilize the citizens’ defense force which I believe is helping”, Prowd recalled.
However, he noted that the court system is important, so the current campaign is necessary to set up a committee that will mobilize resources to make the prison functional once again, pending the government’s full intervention.
He disclosed preliminary assessment done on the prison recently revealed that the main gate needs to be reinstalled, while some of the cell doors only need locks and welding.
The Maryland County superintendent pleaded with the business community and well-meaning citizens to cooperate for the overall safety of the county.
“It is risky for court officers to be carrying criminals from here to Fishtown, (River Gee County) or from here to Zwedru (Grand Gedeh County). While the government is still finding the money to do it, let’s see what we can do as a county to solve the problem,” he pleaded.
The Harper Central Prison is the only correction palace in the county. Due to its damage, the general justice and rule of law system appear to be paralyzed in the county.
Pleebo Magisterial Court magistrate, A. Boyee Mah said, pretrial detainees are either held at the Fish Town Correction Palace next door to River Gee County or are taken to Zwedru Correction Palace in Grand Gedeh County.
Magistrate Mah explained that though the road is paved from Harper, Maryland to Fish Town, River Gee but bumpy from River Gee to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, transportation fair is another issue, as commercial bikes charge 3,000 Liberian dollars per person, while public transport drivers charge between 1,500 and 1,800 per person.
He sees the situation as very challenging and stressed the need government’s urgent intervention, adding the lack of prison poses a serious burden on the court’s ability to dispense justice.
He said the court is usually in a catch-22 situation in which they don’t have the resources to transport defendants to the Fish Town Correction Palace and won’t risk releasing defendants back into the community without prosecution.
In some cases, the Pleebo Magisterial Court judge indicated that the complainants or those directly victimized are the ones who facilitate the transportation of defendants.
However, in cases where complainants can’t afford, “It can be a difficult situation”, Magistrate Mah narrated.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/riot-intensifies-in-maryland/ Editing by Jonathan Browne