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Mile 2 inmates: Female prisoners hardly get presidential pardons

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By Olimatou Coker

In another slot of our conversation with inmates at Mile 2 Prisons, a number of female prisoners has told The Standard that very few, if any, female prisoners benefited from presidential pardons in recent times.  The prisoners had a rare encounter with the public during a recent visit by NGO Peace Network and the National Youth Parliament marking International Youth Day.

“I have been here since 2021 on a 4-year sentence but what I realised is that throughout my stay here, we the female prisoners are rarely included in any pardon. And they have been pardoning prisoners,” one woman said.

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She said women should be among the first to be considered for pardon because they have a very short term in terms of reproductive life and any length of time spent in prison is time lost in having children. “Yes, we may have made mistakes but this place is not a correction place but a terrible place for any human being to live,” she added. She called on women’s rights groups and other female organisations to come to their help.

According to her, some of her fellow female prisoners never had children and may never have any if they continue to be locked up.

“When I was coming here, I left my baby who was 8 months old and since then, I haven’t seen her or have any information about her like my fellow prisoners. Same goes for some of my fellow inmates,” she said.

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Another woman, who said she was sent to jail for fighting with her husband’s girlfriend, said: “We promised to be better people in the future when we are free from here but I wonder what life would be left with us after here. This place is hellish,” she said, adding “we have already realised and learned a lot from our mistakes”.

Also speaking to The Standard, an 18-year-old prisoner and former Grade 11 student, said she has been in prison just over two weeks but has seen enough of the hellish conditions there. She said from what she has seen, Mile 2 is not a correction centre but a hell on earth.

The Standard contacted a senior security and judicial officer on the claims of the prisoners. Both said pardoning goes through a credible process and it is not likely that women would be discriminated.

“I don’t have the statistics and cannot even make official comment on this but my instinct is that there is no deliberate policy to exclude women from any possible list for pardon,” one of them said. They agreed though that the condition of the prisons needs to be improved even more.

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