Panos / Laif
"Juvenile Behind Bars in African Prisons"
I started this project in Sierra Leone prisons in 2010. I would like to extend to others countries in Africa because is a very serious situation all over Africa. Most African countries have ratified United Nations Convention for Child Rights in 1990 that make impossible to have children (under 18 years old) in prison. But thousands of children are abandoned and lost in adult prisons. The conditions are terrible.
I went through several prisons in Sierra Leone to document and create awareness about the situation of juvenile in prison. For me these young people is one of the groups who are most abandoned not only from their families and society. They may be abandoned themselves for a lack of prospects. Some of them, may be imprisioned years without knowing anything about the legal status of their case.
I started this proyect alone and now i collaborate with TIMAP for JUSTICE, local NGO from Sierra Leone which help inmates without economical resources. Also after the first publication in Spain one spanish NGO wants to create aid office on the ground with local staff to help the juvenile inmates with legal proceedings and their rehabilitation.
Every morning dozens of prisioners from Pademba prisons are taken to the court. Many of them need to go many times before have a sentence. A prisoner told me that he went more than 50 times to court. They can be remand prisoners during years before have a sentence. In Pademba they are more than 1400 prisoners.