Prisons receive equipment to battle COVID-19

Maseru, institut correctionnel central. Un bâtiment fraîchement rénové par les service correctionnels du Lesotho. Les détenus disposent maintenant dans leur cellule de toilette et d'un évier. L'éclairage a également été amélioré. Maseru, Central Correctional Institute. A newly renovated cell block provides toilets and sinks in the rooms and better lighting. This renovation was undertaken by the Lesotho correctional Services. The ICRC has been working with the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) since 1994. Currently, delegates from the Pretoria Regional Delegation visit security detainees to ensure that they are detained in conditions which show due respect for human dignity. Over two visits in 2012, ICRC staff captured photos illustrating life in prison and efforts by ICRC to assist LCS in making improvements for the well-being of the security detainees as well as select projects for the benefit of the entire prison population. See LS-E-00007 to see before the renovation.

‘MAKERESEMESE LETUKA

MASERU – In a move to help minimize the risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19 in places of detention, the Ministry of Health on Thursday handed over surveillance thermal cameras and large capacity sprayers to the Ministry of Law, Constitutional Affairs, Human Rights and Justice and Correctional Services – earmarked for use at national detention facilities. Thermal cameras are non-contact devices that detect infrared energy (heat) and coverts it into visual images, originally developed for surveillance and military operations the devices are now widely used for building inspections, firefighting, screen temperate screening, prisons surveillance and much more; while large capacity sprayers are used for routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaces by spraying or fogging.

Three Thermal and Optical Bi-Spectrum Network Bullet cameras for video surveillance were given for the Maseru, Leribe and Mohale’s Hoek districts, with 17 Ultra-low Capacity Sprayers for large area decontamination. The donation was received the minister responsible, Professor Nqosa Mahao, who thanked the National COVID-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) for heeding his request for assistance. “After receiving reports about poor hygiene standards, and the need for the safety and protection of inmates at our facilities I talked to the NACOSEC and asked for assistance to lend a hand in fighting infections and controlling diseases. I am glad today to see that some equipment to that effect is here,” said the minister.

Even though the inmates are considered convicted criminals they are still our family members and we have to look out for them, in this yard alone (Maseru Central Correctional Facility) we have over 1 000 people, 500 inmates 300 employees, said the Deputy Minister of Health Nto Moakhi. Lesotho Correctional Services Assistant Commissioner, Phoka Scout, observe during the handover that the donation will go a long way towards detecting inmates’ temperature to facilitate COVID-19 testing. He was, similarly grateful that the equipment arrived “for it was initially requested from the now defunct National Emergency Command Centre and budgeted for…but we are thankful all the same.”

“This is going to help all the convicts to test at once, this equipment was among the budget of National Emergency Command Centre even though is now called NACOSEC.” Said senior assistant commissioner Phoka Scout. Lesotho’s 14 detention centres, per latest data captured by the World Prison Brief Data as at 2014, housed slightly over 2 073 inmates. The country has until today (August 7) reported 742 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 175 of those having recovered. 23 COVID related deaths have also been reported.

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