A senior United Nations official in Liberia has called on a group of newly-trained corrections officers to keep in mind how they care for the prisoners entrusted to them, stressing that such treatment will be key to ensuring a safe and secure facility, as well as helping the detainees to become law-abiding citizens when they are released.
“As corrections officers, you are responsible for the care, custody and control of human beings,” Marjo Callaghan, the head of the Corrections Advisory Unit of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), said at a graduation ceremony for 66 new officers at the Liberia National Police Training Academy.
“Therefore, appropriate treatment is imperative; and it is essential that you focus on the humane treatment of prisoners at all times,” she added.
Ms. Callaghan pointed out that the majority of prisoners will return to the community. “They will be your neighbours, some may be family members, but the way in which you treat them while in custody will impact on how they act when they return.”
The latest batch of graduates brings to 209 the total number of corrections officers trained since the course – a joint programme of the UNMIL Corrections Advisory Unit and the Liberian Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Justice – began in 2004.
The 12-month training prepares the new officers to carry out their duties at the country’s corrections facilities, many of which have been rehabilitated after having been destroyed or neglected during Liberia’s civil conflict.