IRIN News Production

Humanitarian news and analysis agency IRIN News, says thirteen years after Sierra Leone’s long civil war came to an end, its broken institutions and weak development indicators continue to impact on the lives of its people.

And more than any group in society, it is women who bear the brunt. Aside from the usual grim data, one statistic stands out: the number of female prisoners has doubled over the past three years.

IRIN’s latest film Women Behind Bars, tries to understand why prison rates for women are soaring. It follows two paralegals, Victoria and Marvel (AKA Small Pepper) as they fight for the rights of women trapped in poverty, and a corrupt system that discriminates against them.

In a country of only 400 lawyers, Sierra Leone’s 80 paralegals have a crucial role to play in trying to deliver basic human rights. As we watch Victoria and Marvel at work, negotiating with police and prison authorities, advising and at times cajoling the women they have come to help, it becomes clear how daunting that task is.

Watch “Sierra Leone’s Women Behind Bars” produced by IRIN Films, this week on Special Assignment, It will be broadcast on Sunday, 9 August 2015, at 20h30 on SABC 3. Repeated Mondays at 23:30.

For more information, contact the Special Assignment office:

Telephone: 011 714 6758

Production Coordinator: Cleopatra Jones on: 011 714 5419

Executive producer: Busisiwe Ntuli: 011 714 6451