Unity State on track to transform correction services

4 Feb 2013

Unity State on track to transform correction services

29 January 2013 - Prisons in Unity State were making steady progress transforming their facilities into correction services, Bentiu State Prison Director said today.

Speaking at a workshop to discuss the South Sudan National Prisons Service Strategic Development Plan, Lt. Col. Yuoanis Orac Tipo said that expertise brought into the country by UNMISS Corrections Advisors from various countries had been useful in their learning process.

"Before we were given (the) opportunity to work with colleagues from other countries, we didn't know what human rights were," he said. "Now there is respect for human rights of inmates, faster processing of cases and no new cases of prolonged detentions in Bentiu."

Some 32 participants attended the workshop to discuss different ways they could achieve the plan's goals.

The three-year strategic development plan seeks to ensure safe and secure containment of inmates, reduction of prolonged, illegal and arbitrary detention, humane treatment, rehabilitation, accountability and professional standards.

"We have plans (to involve) the prisoners in meaningful work. We lack funds but we should start with whatever little we have," Lt. Col. Tipo said.

Participants discussed core functions of prison services as laid down in the Prisons Service Act 2011, as well as the role and values of individual prison officers.

Although the laws of South Sudan provide Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of inmates, participants said prisons officers had a social responsibility to play the role of counselors or social workers.

Similar workshops are being conducted in all 10 states, with support from the UNMISS Corrections Advisory Section.