Year2017
Contributor(s)Prison Insider

The system organisation

Organisation of the penitentiary system

The Ministry of Justice has been responsible for the prison system since 2004.

The Muslim chiefdoms of northern Cameroon, called “Lamidats” 1, oversee illegal private prisons 2. Accused persons are held in these prisons while awaiting transfer to an official prison. In practice, they may remain there for extended periods awaiting trial. Harsh prison conditions can, in some cases, lead to the death of inmates.


  1. Lamidats are micro-states with centralised and hierarchical power. This form of traditional administration persists despite the supposed concentration of central power in Yaoundé. 

  2. The Advocates for Human Rights, Report on the Death Penalty and Detention Conditions in the Republic of Cameroon, August 2013, pp. 22–23.