By; Steve P. Jackson
The Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) at the Ministry of Justice with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have ended a weeklong training workshop for Senior Managers of the Bureau.
The training workshop on the topic "Consolidating Prison Management which meets Humanitarian need in a Changing Environment" brought together all the Prison Superintendents and some senior staff of the Bureau of Correction in Monrovia.
Speaking at the end of the workshop, ICRC Protection Coordinator Miroslawa Czerna disclosed that it was the last time the ICRC and the BCR would hold a training exercise and the last detention related activity the ICRC was conducting in the Liberia.
Counting on success, she noted that over the years joint efforts of the ICRC and the BCR were able to achieve significant results since their initial visit to prisons in April, 1973; this include the improvement of living conditions, treatment and prison system.
Ms. Czerna said the rehabilitation of sewage networks and septic tanks, providing access to safe drinking water, medical supplies, providing input to BCR budgets Strategies, training staff in hygiene and food storage and as well as training recruits and superintendents and senior staff of the Bureau.
She said 44 years ago the ICRC started partnership with an initial visit to three prisons in Liberia - Monrovia Central Prison (South Beach), Kakata Central Prison (Carter High) Buchanan Central Prison.
The training is aimed at consolidating gains in addressing the humanitarian needs of detainees, particularly on conditions and treatment of detainees, promoting organizational resiliency and management of change.
Also speaking at the end of the program the Assistant Minister of Justice for Corrections and Rehabilitation, Hilary Siakor who called on prison Superintendents to apply what have learned in correctional and prison systems and their responsibility to consolidate prison management that meets the humanitarian needs of those under their jurisdiction.
“It is essential that the set of principles that we have learned be used as a reference point in our system and beyond. These principles should not be based on a particular prison or any other standards, which is practiced at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) and another at the National Palace of Corrections (NPC) for example.
BCR is BCR, nothing else. All prisons and detention centers are under the authority of the BCR” he added.
Min. Sirleaf further encouraged Prison Superintendents to remember the “principles of good prison management, and also told them that liberty in person is one of the most precious rights of all human beings.
Assistant Minister Sirleaf further told prison authorities that the essence of imprisonment is deprivation of liberty and the task of the prison authorities is to ensure that this is implemented in a manner, which is no more restrictive than is necessary.
“It is not our function or prison authority anywhere to impose additional deprivations on those in under our care and control; In these difficult but promising times in the history of this nation, we must do all that we can to treat those deprived of liberty with humanity no matter what the cause of their imprisonment is.
As the AMR and you, as Director, Deputies, Superintendents, Supervisors and whatever position you hold, working collaboratively would allow us to meet our mission and objectives” he concluded.
The weeklong workshop covered such topics as, Government, the Criminal Justice System and how they affect the mandate of the BCR, Framework for understanding humanitarian needs in prisons (Gap Analysis; energizing for Creative problem Solving): Ability to apply systems thinking and the creative problem solving method among others.
The training was also intended for prison authorities to see the prisons as interrelated systems and to use the systems approach in improving prison management; proving the framework for understanding humanitarian needs in prison, which are gap analysis and creative problem solving.
Meanwhile at the end of the program, nine persons were given certificates for hard work in the respective areas of assignment.