Laws of Arrest and Detention (A continuation: Know your rights and limitations)
SOURCE: ALFRED MASSAQUOI









SUMMARY OF YESTERDAY’S DISCUSSION ON DETENTION


Yesterday, we learned that the Ministry of Justice under section 34.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law maintains Maximum-security prisons for aggressive or dangerous offenders who present a serious escape risk. It also maintains Medium-security prisons for offenders of less aggressive or dangerous tendencies who offer less serious escape risks.


We learned that the Minimum-security institutions, to include work camps & farms, for offenders who are not aggressive or dangerous and who offer little or no risk of escape.


Other institutionalization includes reformatories or vocational training schools or camps for young offenders; hospitals for chronically ill prisoners; institutions for the treatment of psychopaths, mental defectives, narcotic addicts, alcoholics, & other persons requiring psychiatric treatment, and the rest.


We begin today’s discussion with the Segregation of Persons held in Detention facilities. Read on:

THE SEGREGATION OF PERSONS HELD IN DETENTION FACILITIES
Persons held in detention facilities supervised by the Ministry of Justice are to be segregated from each other as follows: female prisoners from male prisoners; and prisoners under the age of 21 from older prisoners.
Other are: persons detained for hearing or trial from prisoners under sentence of imprisonment; and persons detained for hearing or trial or under sentence, from material witnesses & other persons detained under civil commitment.
CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITATIONS ON DETENTION
Under Article 21 (e) & (f) of the Liberian Constitution it is forbidden for Persons held in detention to be tortured or subjected to inhumane treatment; civilians to be held in military facilities; persons in pretrial detention to be held among convicted prisoners or treated as convicts; persons to be detained for more than 48 hours without being formally charged.
AREAS  WHERE PRISONERS RIGHTS ARE VIOLATED BY PRISON AUTHORITIES
Prison authorities turning a blind eye to assault or rape of prisoners, failing to take sufficient steps to protect prisoners from assault or rape, or even arranging for prisoners to be assaulted or raped by others as a form of punishment.
Other areas are providing insufficient treatment for serious medical conditions; refusing freedom of expression, to reading materials, or even to communicate, particularly in cases of foreign languages in prisons; punishing prisoners who raise complaints about bad conditions; taking away prisoners' rights to sue prison authorities or Government authorities for maltreatment or to receive compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of prison authorities.
Other areas include: depriving prisoners of freedom of religion; blocking inmates' rights to legal materials & access to courts; and not properly feeding & clothing prisoners.
AREAS  WHERE PRISONERS RIGHTS ARE VIOLATED BY PRISON AUTHORITIES
Make no mistake a prisoner is subject to the rules of the prison where he/she is being held even though their basic human rights have to be respected, they lose the right to vote & personal freedom among others.
However, remember there are certain general basic human rights that prisoners or detainees are entitled to regardless of the offense they may have committed.
To be continued in next edition

 
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