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Sierra Leone Opens Bank Accounts For 250 Prison Inmates

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Bank accounts opened for two hundred and fifty inmates in Correctional Centres across the country, have been credited with the sum of one million, three hundred and fifty thousand Leones each.

Beneficiary inmates are those whose names have been captured under the ‘Earning Scheme’, stipulated in Section 19 of the Prison Rules of 1961 Act No. 2, and the Institutional Policy on Earning Scheme for Inmates developed in 2018.

According to the Director of Human Resources- Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Mr. Dennis Harman, ‘Earning Scheme’ is a system that ensures inmates, who get involved in work, are rewarded with incentive, depending on the inmate’s level of skill and services rendered.

Mr. Harman revealed that the seed money was made available by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Bureau for Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

“This practice is not new, because it was once in practice while the institution was Prisons, but it couldn’t stand the test of time; when we transformed to Corrections, we decided to resuscitate the practice. Each Inmates receives between Le50,000 to Le 150,000 per month based on the nature of work and services rendered and it came into force in April 2018.”

The Director of Human Resources explained that it would be impossible for all Inmates to benefit from the gesture because of the unavailability of resources, adding inmates who do productive work in the workshops and provide service in the catering and cleaning department, including those working in the Correctional Service farms or participate in formal education or serve as library assistants, “are the ones who have been selected from different Correctional Centres in the country”.

This initiative, Mr. Harman mentioned, seeks to ensure discharged inmates do not re- offend, but become productive citizens, who will contribute to the socio- economic development of the state.

Disclosing that the SLCS has been engaged in a lot of work over the past years, Mr. Harman said UNDP and INL- our major funding partners have provided the pathway for the transformation from Prisons to Corrections. He said the support of the twain, has ensured that all inmates in the earning scheme also receive technical training from the Government Technical Institute (GTI) and entrepreneurial training from Life by Design (LbD).

“Inmates under this scheme can only have access to not more than 50% whilst serving their sentences through the Welfare Officer, while the rest of the 50% is kept in their various accounts and can only be accessed after completing their sentences, during which their Bank ID cards are handed over to them.”

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