Bor Prisoners Worried About Poor Conditions

Jonglei State remand center at Bor. [Gurtong| Jacob Achiek jok]

Sanitation at the facility is in dire condition in the building which houses remand prisoners awaiting trial. The centre lacks ventilation except through the metallic door grills.

Prisoners who requested anonymity for fear of being victimised said that the place has not been cleaned in a long time and they rarely get food. Prisoners used the same cell as toilets at night.

The men confined in overcrowded cells with no beds and so the men have to sleep on mats spread out over the crowded cell floor with the sick prisoners being unable to receive medical attention.
In August, the Human Rights Watch launched an investigative report depicting the harsh, unacceptable prison conditions in which detainees live in South Sudan prisons.

The report documented violations of due process rights, patterns of wrongful deprivation of liberty and serious flaws in the emerging justice system.

The research was carried out in twelve of the country’s 79 prisons during a 10-month period before and after South Sudan’s independence in areas with the largest prison populations.

It revealed that, a third of South Sudan’s prison population of approximately 6,000 has not been convicted of any offense or in some cases even charged with one, but are detained, often for long periods, waiting for police, prosecutors, and judges to process their cases.

The vast majority of detainees have no legal representation, because they cannot afford a lawyer and South Sudan has no functioning legal aid system, adding that Judges pass long sentences and even condemn to death people who, without legal assistance, were unable to understand the nature of charges against them or to call and prepare witnesses in their defence.

South Sudanese authorities welcomed the report pointing out infrastructural challenges, insecurity, budget constraints and other political problems that hinder government’s efforts to prioritise the improvement of the prisons in the country.

Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 250 inmates and a range of justice officials, correctional officers, police, prosecutors, and traditional authorities.

Last Month, the Director General of National Prisons Service Abel Makoi Wol revealed that the South Sudanese prisons are transforming.

The prisons chief said that there are about 6650 prisoners in the country of which more than 4000 are convicted with 1600 on remand while others are children.

He also noted that the prisons are inadequate and that the inmates have accepted to endure the environment.

Since South Sudan gained independence last year, the government has been trying to improve given that the liberated areas only had containment centers.

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