The penitentiary system

Senegal has 37 correctional facilities. Thirteen of these hold men and women.

Correctional facilities break down into the following four categories:

  • 2 Prisons for remand prisoners: they hold those sentenced to prison terms of more than one year.

  • 32 Prisons for remand prisoners and reformatories: they hold individuals sentenced to prison terms lasting from two weeks to one year.

  • 1 Reformatory: at Sébikotane. It holds individuals sentenced to a correctional term of less than one year.

  • 2 Penal camps: Liberté VI in Dakar and Koutal. They hold individuals sentenced to forced labour and criminal detention. The term remaining to be served, following conviction, must be greater than one year.

All the prisons date from the colonial era. The prison for remand prisoners at Saint-Louis was built in 1929 and the one at Dakar, Rebeuss (the largest in the country), the same year. The others are old buildings designed for other uses and converted into prisons.

In September 2016, Justice Minister Sidi Kaba announced the opening, in January 2017, of a new 500-bed prison.

Another project involves the construction of a 1,500-bed prison at Sébikotane, which should replace the prison for remand prisoners at Rebeuss in 2018. The project “will have to meet international standards”. Covering an area of 12 hectares, six of which are reserved for reintegration activities, it also includes a place of worship, and a health and social welfare centre. The building will eventually house the new National School of Prison Administration (ENAP).

Construction, estimated at CFA650 million (USD1, 048,000), is funded by a public-private partnership. France has signed an agreement with Senegal for the initial funding of CFA500 million.

The prison administration is under the authority of the Ministry of Justice. In July 2015, it comprised 1,167 officers, 285 of whom were women. This represents a ratio of one officer per 19 prisoners.

The delegation sent by the West Africa Regional Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (HCDH) and the Association of Senegalese Women Lawyers (AJS) noted that it has received few complaints from prisoners regarding prison staff. “The delegation can state that staff demonstrated professionalism and, as a general rule, showed themselves to be receptive towards women prisoners. In their questionnaires, female prisoners stated that staff behaved respectfully towards them and that generally speaking they maintained cordial relations with a good number of female prisoners. A minority considered their relations to be distant or tense”, the report stated.

Some aspects of daily life are governed by inmates. Each cell has a “cell representative,” a prisoner who is responsible for communication between the authorities and his fellow prisoners.

Administration officers are trained at the Police College (l’École de police et de la formation permanente). A proposal for the creation of the National School of Prison Administration (ENAP) was approved by the Council of Ministers in October 2014. The school will be located within the same perimeter as the new prison at Sébikotane and, according to the proposal, will cover over six hectares. It will consist of six buildings with training rooms and accommodation. It is anticipated that 240 student-officers will be recruited.