THE Chairman of the Prisons Service Council, Reverend Dr Stephen Wengam, yesterday disclosed to the media the diversion of donations and other items by prison officers, which is an open secret.

Dr Wengam is saying something that is already known by the prisoners, prison officers and some members of the general public.

Indeed, the Chairman of the Council might have been fed up with the practice to have voiced it out in the manner he did.

As a matter of fact the practice is something both the officers and inmates complain about on the quite, but unable to speak up about.

As is the practice nationwide, everyone is aware that bribery and corruption are against the law, yet many people indulge in them just to get what they went.

That malaise has eaten so deep into society that it has become the norm rather than the exception to cheat and indulge in negative activities.

The diversion of the items meant for the prisoners, we are told, is widespread across prison installations in the country. And it has been going on for a long time.

The Times is concerned that the Service appears to be unconcerned about the practice, and that it must take the Council to issue a warning letter to all the prisons in a bid to stop the practice.

The diversion of the donations is an unhealthy practice and paints the Service in a very bad light.

We want to believe that not all the officers are indulging in the practice, but once it can be proven that it is widespread then that becomes problematic.

We must commend the Prisons Service Council for its bold initiative to halt the negative practice once and for all.

The prisoners on whose behalf the officers accept the items must benefit from them rather than the officers themselves.

Already, we are aware that the daily stipend given for food is woefully inadequate and the donations are expected to supplement it.

It is, therefore, inappropriate for the officers to divert the donations for their personal use and deny the prisoners what is due them.

The diversion of the items and donations must stop now. The prisoners deserve better treatment from the officers.


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