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General News of Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Prisons - Priority On Infrastructure in 2014


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The government of Cameroon in the 2014 financial year has set out to improve conditions in the country's prisons through the construction of more prisons, equipment of others, provision of potable water and recruitment of more staff.

The prisons mostly face the problems of over population, especially those in urban centres like Douala, Yaounde, Garoua, Bafoussam and Bamenda with the already sentenced inmates representing only 35 per cent of people found in prisons, Ovale Ze, the Director of Penitentiary Administration in the Ministry of Justice said. Only already sentenced prisoners can be transferred, he told Cameroon Tribune and added that on the contrary there were some prisons that have inmates far less than the available capacity, an example being the Yoko Prison that has a capacity of 500 places and less than 100 inmates were in the prison.

Infrastructure Development:

The Director of Penitentiary Administration in the Ministry of Justice, Ovale Ze disclosed that in the 2014 Public Investment Budget the government has allocated money for the construction of the Douala-Ngoma Prison in the Littoral Region and the Bali Prison in the North West Region. The Douala-Ngoma Prison that will have a capacity of 5,000 places has been allocated FCFA 80 million for work to start. The Bali Prison with a capacity of 300 places has been allocated FCFA 49 million.

Rehabilitation Work:

The Director said that financial resources have been allocated in the 2014 Public Investment Budget to rehabilitate 22 prisons. He disclosed that the rehabilitation work is budgeted to cost FCFA 507.9 million and the sum of FCFA 373.9 million will be disbursed this year. The rehabilitation work will consist in enlarging cells, creating others and maintaining general hygiene and sanitation in the prisons.

Equipment:

Some 15 prisons have been budgeted to be equipped in 2014 with diverse material amounting to FCFA 74.5 million, statistics from the Public Investment Budget indicated. Added to the equipment, water will also be provided to eight other prisons. The Director of Penitentiary Administration said government has also provided resources to respond to the health, nutrition and other needs of inmates.

Human Resources:

The government has programmed to recruit 305 new personnel at all levels in the Penitentiary Administration, Ovale Ze said. The personnel will be highly professional including agriculture engineers, nurses and people from other professions who will cater for the inmates and also prepared them for social-economic re-integration once they regain their freedom.

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