Dear Liberian Government, We all understand that people go to prison for violating the law(s). That much is clear, but prisons have the power to improve offenders, further damage them, or make absolutely no effect whatsoever; all at the same price point. As a government, I believe you should care about those who commit crimes because they one day return to our society.
Even though they are on the flip side of Justice, they deserve and are entitled to medical care and attention as needed to treat both short-term conditions and long-term illnesses. The medical care provided must be ADEQUATE! Qualified medical staffs, including mental health nurses, should be available to deliver on-site health care in every prison. If a prisoner has a health issue that possibly cannot be treated at the prison, then I suggest that they are transferred to a medical facility for treatment. This is not the case at the Monrovia Central Prison and is now alarming and worrisome.
At the Monrovia Central Prison, there is a pint-size clinic that is not medically equipped. There is literally no support staff, and the prison cannot afford to give any medical service after 4:00pm. From my investigations, they only have pills like paracetamol, aspirin (ASA) and itch medicine and even these are in limited supply. They had only one Physician’s Assistant (PA) there but brought in a nurse a few days ago. So for now, there’s one nurse and one PA to over one thousand three hundred (1,300) inmates.
On top of all this, these two health providers leave at 4pm so, during the night, there is no medical staff on duty to attend to the inmates in cases of emergency. According to the inmates, in cases where they happen to get sick during the night, the correction officers on duty barely attend to their calls on the grounds because they are not medical practitioners.
The inmates sometimes are left with no option but banging on the walls and gates and disturb for hours before any correction offer might show up to take them either to JFK or Redemption. So most often and in extreme cases, inmates are left vulnerable to deaths. After the fact, the officers tend to rush the dead body(ies) to the hospital and these tragic instances can, in most cases, be attributed to the slow reaction of the officers when they are called upon.
To add insult to injury, in the entire prison, there is only one available vehicle used to take the inmates to hospital; the car in question is the superintendent’s vehicle. Therefore, if this car is down or the superintendent is not around, there is absolutely NO CAR available to take the inmates to the hospital.
Mr. President! Lawmakers! The government of Liberia! Please do something about this appalling situation at the Monrovia Central Prison and the prison system in general! Those inmates are, before all else, humans first and citizens of this nation who will one day return to society.
Authored by Jaymu-Wortehjie Nagbe
Featured Picture by Alamy Stock Photos