The prison commission of the Ministry of Justice (the “Commission”) counted 3,110 prisoners at the end of 20141. 2,500 of these prisoners are held in three major facilities.
Prisons are overpopulated. Occupation rates and living conditions vary between prisons. In some prisons, up to ten prisoners are held in cells designed to accommodate six. Conditions are worse in larger prisons, with half the prison population sleeping in groups of 50, stacked on top of one another in 20 square-foot cells. The high security prisons of Boké, Faranah, Kankan, Kindia, Labé, Mamou, Nzérékoré et Conakry are all notoriously overcrowded.
The maximum-security prison of Conakry, built to hold 300 prisoners, held 1,396 prisoners in 2014. Here, more than 40% of the prison population is held at an occupancy rate of 400%.
The systematic use of temporary detention and the irregularity of judiciary hearings are the main causes of prison overpopulation. Pre-trail prisoners accounted for 65% of the prison population in 2013.
Pre-trial and convicted prisoners are held together due to lack of space. Children and women are, in best-case scenarios, held in separate cells.
The Commission recorded 116 female prisoners in December 2014. 43% of these women were detained at the high-security prison of Conakry. Most were incarcerated for theft or prostitution.
Women are held in separate cells from men, however common spaces and toilets are shared.
No special arrangements are made for pregnant women and children. Women give birth inside the prison, assisted by a duty nurse and doctor. These children stay with their mothers until release or until taken into custody by a relative.
The Commission recorded 196 minors incarcerated in Guinea in December 2014. The most common crimes committed by minors are theft, drug trafficking and murder.
There are no special institutions for juvenile prisoners in Guinea. In Kindia prison, the minors’ area has been used as a storeroom since a jailbreak in 2009. Cells for minors at the Mamou prison are also unused after a large jailbreak in 2014.
The high-security prison of Conakry has a designated area for juvenile prisoners. Adults are able to access this area by paying staff members. The juvenile area of Conakry holds iron bunk beds with no mattresses. Children assigned top bunks must sleep on the floor during periods of warm weather because of the heat from the sheet metal roofs.
In other prisons (Dubréka, Forécariah, Coyah, and Boké, and in Pita, Lélourna and Dalaba), minors and adults share the same quarters, and sometimes cells. This mix between adults and children can be an advantage when it allows family members to be reunited and affords the children some protection. However, minors can be exploited and cases, particularly regarding the distribution of chores, have been reported.
The Commission reported that, in December 2014, there were 83 foreign prisoners in Guinea. 52 are detained in the high-security prison of Conakry.
Most of these prisoners are originally from Sierra Leone, Liberia, or the Ivory Coast. The most common crimes are drug trafficking, diamond trafficking, banditry, theft, and murder.
Illegal residency can lead to imprisonment, however these laws are rarely enforced. Guinean borders are very fluid and outsiders can live 20 years or more in the country without being arrested.
Homosexuality is a criminal offence under Article 325 of the penal code and is punishable by 3 to 6 months imprisonment. Life sentences are mandatory for homosexual acts involving minors (up to 21 years old).
According to Amnesty International, at least three people were arrested in 2015 due to their sexual orientation. Two men were arrested on April 22nd and sentenced to three months imprisonment by the tribunal of Mafanco.
Jean Bangoura, a unionist, was arrested without warrant at his home on the 4 October 2015. Sekou Kourouma, Souleymane Diallo and Sekou Kouyate were arrested the following day for taking part in a peaceful protest, calling for Bangoura to be released. All were indicted for outrage and defamation against the head of state on October 8. They are awaiting their judgment, which will take place in 2016. Amnesty International considers them prisoners of conscience.
The OHCHR’s report published in 2014 reported up to 37 persons suffering from mental illness. No treatment or special care is provided by the prison administration.