In line with her constitutional mandate, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday granted Executive Clemency to 34 inmates who were being held at various prison facilities across the country. Seven of them were from the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP).
President Sirleaf told the freed inmates that “Based on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, Frederick Cherue, and his team, you have been set free.” She urged them to go back to their communities and be good law-abiding citizens.
“You need to go now and become good and productive citizens. This is a second chance for you to better your lives; and this should serve as a turning point for you in life,” the President told the former inmates, all of whom appeared youthful.
They were separately charged with crimes ranging from burglary, armed robbery, criminal facilitation, simple assaults, and drug related crimes. Some of them were released based on their medical conditions, age, exemplary conduct in prison, while others had served nearly all their sentences with a few months remaining to be freed by the court.
President Sirleaf declared the Presidential Clemency on yesterday when she paid a regular pre-Christmas visit to the MCP, where she expressed concern for imprisoned citizens.
She told the freed inmates to go, but never to repeat the acts that led them to prison.
Apart from the MCP, other corrections facilities whose inmates benefitted from the President’s goodwill gesture yesterday were the National Palace of Correction in Zwedru (3), Gbarnga Central Prison (2), Sanniquellie Central Prison (4), Buchanan Central Prison (3), Harper (4), and Margibi (5). Others are Lofa (4), Grand Cape Mount (1) and Bomi (3).
Justice Minister Cherue took the President on a tour of the prison facility at MCP, while also acquainting her with the happenings and conditions there. He took the President to all of the departments, where she interacted with some female inmates.
Minister Cherue told the President that he is seeking more reforms that will improve the facility and the others across the country.
President Sirleaf thanked the prison authorities as well as the corrections officers assigned for their service to the country and wished them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.