UNFPA Liberia Country Representative Dr. Oluremi Sogunro
DSRSG for Rule of Law, Waldemar Vrey
UNFPA Liberia has dedicated a newly constructed Females and Adolescents Vocational Training Center at the Monrovia Central Prison in South Beach, Central Monrovia.
The facility was constructed by Touching Humanity In Need of Kindness or THINK, under the auspices of UNFPA Liberia. Presenting the Center Wednesday, 8 June to the Government of Liberia during a formal ceremony at the Monrovia Central Prison, UNFPA Liberia Country Representative Dr. Oluremi Sogunro said if inmates leave prison without rehabilitation, they may become worse off than when they went there.
“Today marks a very special day in Liberia”, Dr. Sogunro remarked, and disclosed that to start with, UNFPA was providing four computers, 10 sewing machines for the Center besides two computers and a printer for the correction office.
He detailed that the juvenile and women rehabilitation facility has a total of 35 inmates, including 20 females and 15 juvenile who are predominantly pre-trial detainees. Three of the female prisoners are serving their sentences after their conviction in court.
“Thirty percent of the inmates are SGBV [Sexual Gender Base Violence] offenders”, he added. Dr. Sogunro lauded implementing partner THINK, for demonstrating the real meaning of its name – Touching Humanity In Need of Kindness.
Liberia’s Deputy Justice Minister for Correction Cllr. Harrietal Badio, cut the ribbon to the Center. Earlier, a female inmate Mary, lamented the poor quality of the justice system here. “No justice for the poor in Liberia”, she said.
Mary is a pre-trial detainee; “Some of us have been here for four to five years. Some of us females, we don’t have underclothes. We’re just bundled in jail; no trial or rehabilitation. She said while in detention, lawyers coerced them to sign pre-bargain agreement with the court even if they were innocent. Story by Jonathan Browne