So on the whole, the penitentiaries are not as fortified as one would’ve thought! It almost feels like we have a certain Micheal Scofield in our prisons. At least, that’s what recent developments are making us believe.
Despite the imposing brick walls, the towering observation posts and other security barriers, inmates have been escaping from the State Central Prisons just at the outskirts of the capital.
Notwithstanding the numbers being dwarfed by the 2020 mass prisoner escape from the Old Jeshwang Prison few miles away, escapes of convicts and hardened criminals from Mile II and Old Jeshwang must certainly ram our prison authorities into an awkward position.
Not confined to that but the embarrassing prisons fiascos have also been inviting public ridicule and rebuke and the questions they bring to the fore surpass the answers provided.
Up to the time of going to press, the Gambia Prisons Services (GPS) has yet to provide any cogent explanation on the escape of 26 prisoners from its wing in the populated Old Jeshwang. As far as we know, the escaped inmates are still evading arrest.
Equally worryingly, a remanded murder suspect Buba Drammeh on 27 December of last year gave the prison’s boss and his wardens a Christmas present by escaping from custody. Certainly not the type of gift the prison chief and his team would’ve loved!
However, they have to face it, learn few lessons from it and endeavour to square up to the task in hand, bearing in mind that in this business of dealing with, at times, desperate suspects, convicts and hardened criminals letting off guard cannot be an option.
This is more accentuated by the reports of another mass escape of inmates at the juvenile wing. Fourteen prisoners are reportedly on the run after breaking jail.(See the story on page 1).
The government, as a matter of urgency, needs to ensure proper investigations are conducted in these instances of inmates breaking out of our jails, considering their frequency and public safety implications.
The government should, henceforth, start turning every stone to get to the reasons why prisoners have been leaving our jails in unlawful manner.