MONROVIA – Mass jail break is imminent at the Monrovia Central Prison due to the shortage of food for the over 1,400 inmates detained and serving their various sentences at the prison facility.
By Obediah Johnson
The MCP is the largest prison facility in Liberia.
FrontPage Africa has gathered from sources within the facility that during the afternoon hours of Monday, November 20, prison authorities were constrained to starve inmates from many blocks with meal due to the shortage of ration.
Meal was only provided to the Female, Juvenile and Sickbay at the prison compound leaving out hundreds of others to go to bed on empty stomach.
The feeding of inmates or convicts once a day runs contrary to best international practice, which calls for prisoners to be fed at least three times a day to help prevent jail break and insecurity.
Inmates in the remaining nine blocks including F-A, F-B, F-C, F-D, F-E, Block E, Block D, Block N-B and Block M-C were reportedly unfed due to the shortage of food.
Our sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that only two bags of rice are left in the warehouse of the prison facility.
For years now, the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) has been hit with food shortage.
Most often, prison authorities are compelled to place phone calls to humanitarians and other philanthropic organizations to provide feeding for the inmates due to inadequate support from the government.
For weeks now, their efforts applied to reach out to these individuals and groups, have not yielded any fruitful results, something which prompted the growing wave of hunger among the inmates.
Parents, loved ones, relatives and friends are also constrained to take food and other items to inmates and convicts on a daily basis due to the current situation.
“Currently the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) is totally out of food again.. Even though this is a regular pattern whereby Government have had less attention towards the prison, the MCP Administration is most often successful in going out to beg few humanitarians to help and such endeavor always yield fruit but today’s experience seems to be worse because some Kitchen Staffs are escaping already,” a source reported.
The source added: “It’s safe to say that the team that went out to beg for rice is nowhere near success so kitchen staffs are getting a bit afraid.”
Damaged cooking pots
Female kitchen staffs at the prison compound have also expressed concerns that authorities have failed to purchase new cooking pots to secure the food of the inmates.
They have complained on numerous occasions that the two cooking pots which have been repaired countless number of times have outlived its usefulness.
They emphasized that those pots are no longer usable and as such, they cannot continue to manage them for cooking purposes, an action that should claim the attention of the government.
Despite their pleas for the purchasing of new cooking pots, authorities at the prison have failed to address the situation.
“The female kitchen staffs have patched those pots over and over to the extent it cannot be fixed anymore. So, the staffs had to go through straining by managing with two old cooking pots which led to inmates receiving their one time daily dry rice during late evening hours.,” the source maintained.
Though the current situation and hardship confronting inmates have been reported to authorities at the Ministry of Justice, nothing has been done to guarantee the wellbeing of inmates and convicts at the facility.
The latest situation may escalate to a mass prison break if steps are not taken with urgency.
It also threatens the lives of other peaceful inmates, workers, guards and visitors at the facility.
Inmates experiencing hunger could go on the rampage by strategizing and initiating plans to escape from prison.
Since the inception of the Weah led-government, the Monrovia Central Prison has been rocked with multiple constraints ranging from the regular food shortage to the lack of safe drinking water, over crowdedness, and the outbreak of strange and communicable diseases among the inmates.
Last year, a strange disease broke out at the facility claiming the lives of few inmates.
When contacted via telephone, Assistant Justice Minister Eddie Trawali reluctantly claimed that the allegations raised were not to his knowledge.
He, however, encouraged FrontPageAfrica to contact the incoming government to respond further to the allegations.