Africa’s heads of Correctional Services will next month convene in Rwanda’s capital Kigali at the 4th Biennial Africa Correctional Services Association (ACSA) Conference.
Organised under the theme: “Building a professional correctional system in Africa: A strategic objective”, the conference will draw experts, academicians and heads of Correctional Services to discuss how the bodies can be brought under one continental umbrella.
George Rwigamba, Commissioner General of Rwanda Correctional Services said the conference scheduled for 15-19th this month, “will draw Heads of Correctional Institutions across Africa, Correctional experts, civil society practitioners, researchers, academics, and others from diverse Correctional backgrounds to an interactive and experience sharing moment.”
Rwigamba added that specifically, the conference, will among other objectives, “try to draw attention of African Correctional fraternity to realities of contemporary correctional demands necessitating reform and innovations.”
The conference will take place at Rwanda’s Radisson Blu and Convention Centre in the capital Kigali.
The 1st Biennial Africa Correctional Services Association (ACSA) Conference was held in Accra, Ghana in September 2010, while the 2nd one took place in Uganda two years later.
Mozambique hosted the 3rd Biennial Africa Correctional Services Association conference at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre, Maputo in July 2014 under the theme “Building a Sustainable and Humane Correctional System in Africa: A Collaborative Responsibility.”
African governments have in several occasions been pinned by Human rights reports for unlawful treatment of inmates.
Such conferences, according to organisers, draw a roadmap to clear the continent’s negative branding by building a sustainable continental fraternity.
Rwanda Correctional Services has 13 prison facilities that meet international standards and considered among the best worldwide, including a rehabilitation centre for minors in Nyagatare District, Eastern province.
The prisons include Mpanga Prison – the famous and most internationally acknowledged prison facility. Located in Nyanza District in the South, the facility has a wing designed for international Prisoners hosting eight prisoners from Sierra Leone.
In 2009, the Special Court for Sierra Leone transferred to Rwanda eight prisoners convicted of various serious crimes committed during the West African nation’s decade-long civil war.
The prisoners include both former rebel and pro-government militia fighters from the 1991-2002 war. They are serving sentences ranging from 15 to 22 years in Rwanda as there is no prison in Sierra Leone that meets the standards required.
In 2015, Moinina Fofana – one of the convicts, was granted conditional early release by the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) after serving seven years.