After Opting for Improved Prison Facilities, Harper Inmates Smile At Last

From Moses Geply | Contributor |Maryland County |

Main entrance of Harper Prison Center

Following a report from Local Voices Liberia in harper, Maryland County recently, that Prisoners at the Harper Central Prison in Maryland County are calling on the government and humanitarian institutions to provide rehabilitation and recreations programs in the prison.

The inmates at the county’s main prison are said to be enduring mental stress and depression due to the lack of some basic rehabilitation programs.

The Harper prison is currently hosting ninety (92) inmates, which comprises of five (5) guvinas , six (6) elder females, 81 elder males, out of this number 62 are sentenced, while  30 are pretrial detainees.

Speaking to Local Voices Liberia recently, in Harper, the Superintendent of the Harper Central Prison, Chrispin Doe said the prison currently lacks sustainable programs to help transformed the lives of inmates and make them self-sufficient after serving time.

he at the same time disclosed to Local voices of Liberia in Harper that facility lacks of some other basic logistics which is greatly undermining the effort of the prison operations. he named lack of operation vehicles for officers and food for prisoners.

Mr. Doe named vocation like carpentry, plumbing, tailoring, soap marking, agriculture, and electricity as skills that when inmates acquire they will be rehabilitated aftermath.

Following the cry of imitates and officers at the Harper Central Prison in Maryland County, a group under Christian Fellowship of Tubman University Sunday, November 15 2020, presented sewing materials to the inmates at the Harper Central Prison.

the items donated include: one piece of sewing bread new sewing machine, including its accessories of tailoring works, hair cutting machines, two rapper suits and an electric fan.

Presenting the items, Sunday, November 16, 2020, on behave of the institution, Rev. Sunday Dawodu said the donation is the organization’s own way of identifying with the harper central prisoners who once upon a time cried for rehabilitation programs at the facilities.

Rev. Dawodu said the initiative is a conglomeration of the institution member’s benevolence in giving back to the needed especially doing this pandemic period not from any national or international donor.

“As a religion body, we thought it wise to have come to identify ourselves with you, not because you are here means that you are precluded by the society” said Rev. Dawodu. he further explained “this sewing machine and other donated items will enable you imitates here at Harper Central Prison to reduce the stress and the long awaited skill training program you have been crying for”. he added.

Also Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Prof. Patrick Vandy, a lecturer at William VS Tubman University believed that this will ensure that when they are freed they would make meaningful contributions to the development of Liberia.

“Despite your incarceration for crimes you have committed knowingly and unknowingly, we believe you have the right to other basic things that will change your minds and behavior and be a good citizen for tomorrow.” said Prof. Vandi

The Public administrator at TU and a member of the Christian fellow use the occasion to call on the inmates at Harper central prison to look up to God and surrounded their lives and be save because according to him the society still looks up to the inmates to change it.

Receiving the materials, the head of the Harper Central Prison, Chrispin Doe lauded the Tubman University Christian Fellowship for the donations and reflected on tremendous contribution and assistant the institution has made over years to the facility.

“This is a clear demonstration that Tubman University is not only here to build the learning capacity of its registered students but to impact positively on the larger society as participants of this prison skill training program will impact on the community upon their release from custody” said Chrispin Doe, HCP Superintendent.

Supt. Doe quickly pointed out that Five (5) prisoners of whom four are males will benefit from the initial phase of the skill training program.

“again let me say on behave of the prisoners and my officers, many thanks to Professor Patrick Vandi, Professor Iona Thomas and all members of the TU Christian Fellowship for their continuous support to the Harper Prison” Supt. Doe Said.

The Christian Fellowship of Tubman University, is a Non-Denominational Religious body comprises home based and foreign lecturers and professors of the William VS Tubman University based in Harper City, Maryland County.

Also speaking to Local Voices Liberia in happy mood, Frank Allison inmates who was sentenced since May 2, 2016 at harper Central Prison, thanked TU Christian Fellowship for the materials. He says they are hopeful of becoming good citizens after serving their respective jail time.

“Today our physical body are in lockup but our minds are not, therefore I think there is a need that the government of Liberia develops this Harper Central Prison like other prisons across Liberia” Allison said.

Allison also expressed concern about the lack of a clinic at the prison and the lack of essential drugs for emergency cases. Malaria, skin infections and eye problems are often not treated in the prison so inmates are transferred to the nearby government hospital to seek treatment, he said

“Now, I agreed that we are in prison but some of us here have to spend less time at this prison, what becomes of us if we are attacked by some of these infections or disease?

“Being in Jail does not mean we are failures in life. Life is not bread and butter, anyone can come here today at any time so this is the time for us to speak for ourselves and those who shall come in the nearby future”.

Also speaking to Local Voices Liberia at the presentation ceremony, is a female inmate, Oretha Thompson, who is currently serving her ten years’ life in imprisonment, said she has not experienced any form of harassment from correction officers or other inmates since she was sentenced the 6th of September 2018.

According to her, Recreational empowerment has become a serious challenge at the harper central since she was sentenced.

“Since I came here, I have not experience any form of capacity building program and rehabilitation program for which the prison was built” said Oretha.

However, she however praised the Harper central officers for the good health services and hygienic cells at the facility.

“The cells here are very human friendly, though we are in prison, I think we have the right too to benefit other human needs because tomorrow we will be leaving this place, what will become of us?”.

Oretha Allison however quickly pointed out that there is a need that the court conducts a speedy and timely investigation so as to reduce the over stay of some inmates at the prison, “As you have heard from the officers, about inmates 30 here who are pretrial detainees, have been here now for the past one year, some two years, some months and have not been trail”. Oretha said.

She then called on President George Weah to tour the prison when he visits Maryland County in the coming months.

“We have learned from our mistakes now in life; we are appealing to the President to come and answer our prayer to free us from this area,” Thompson said.

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About Cholo Brooks 13495 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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