Liberia: Ministry of Justice, Partners End Final Validation of the Draft Act on Making the Bureau of Corrections Autonomy Institution
Monrovia – The Ministry of Justice and its partners which include UNDP Liberia and have finalized the validation of the Liberia Corrections Service Act.
Report by Jaheim T. Tumu, [email protected]
The documents which would be presented to the National Legislature would allow the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) to be an autonomous institution.
The BCR is the third component of Liberia’s Justice system which is basically composed of three administrative sub-divisions namely the Bureau of Correctional Institutions, Bureau of Probation and the Board of Parole, all of which are within the Ministry of Justice.
It deals specifically with the issue of rehabilitation, reintegration of inmates and the issue of placement treatment within the structure of the criminal justice system.
The draft act, when passed by the National Legislature would allow BCR to generate its own funds and would be given similar leverage to that of other sub-agencies under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice.
Speaking following the legal analysis, the Assistant Minister for the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Eddie Tarawali said it has been extremely difficult to have a sensitive office within the Ministry of Justice which is seeking autonomous status but has not been given the go-ahead to function independently.
According to Minister Tarawali, the team of architects resolved all necessary legal questions and legal debates surrounding the documents, therefore, they are craving for the indulgence of the Legislature to ensure that the act is expeditiously passed for the general welfare of the country.
Minister Tarawali, further revealed that the BRC challenge mostly has to do with the bureaucratic structuring of the Ministry of Justice(MOJ).
Said Minister Tarawali said, “When we are autonomous, we will have no bureaucratic proceedings. We will have the political will from President George Weah and then we will have the support from our partners. They will support us directly instead of engaging the MOJ.
“Today we have made a historic mark to ensure that the BCR act be submitted to the national Legislature and we know very well that the President will see the wisdom to ensure that the legislature will pass this law and BCR will obtain its semi-autonomy status for the general welfare of our public.”
Minister Tarawali, however, said one of the fundamental responsibilities of the BCR is to ensure inmates are corrected and reintegrated, and useful for the wellbeing of the public and state.
Also speaking Assistant Minister of Codification at MOJ, Atty. Abraham B. Mitchell extended his heartfelt gratitude to the partners and other stakeholders for the final validation of the draft act.
According to Minister Mitchell, the team spent three days in Buchanan before finalizing the draft act.
Minister Mitchell explained that procedurally, the draft act will be presented to the Minister of Justice who will subsequently send the documents to President Weah for onwards presented to the legislature for enactment into law.