Prisoners not outcasts… Public advised to treat them with compassion

•   Ms. Baffour-Awuah (middle), in a group photograph with the journalists.  Photo: Daniel Amoo

• Ms. Baffour-Awuah (middle), in a group photograph with the journalists. Photo: Daniel Amoo

The public have been asked not to see prison inmates as outcasts that have nothing to offer society.

Rather, they should be accorded respect, dignity and compassion either in custody or released.

The Director-General of the Ghana Prisons Service, Matilda Baffour-Awuah, said this in Accra on Wednesday, when members of the Ghana Chapter of the ECOWAS Community Development Programme (ECOWAS-CDP) Media Network paid a courtesy call on her at her office.

The visit was to officially introduce the group to the Director-General and the Prisons Directorate and to see how best they can work together.

The Ghana media network is an association of ECOWAS-CDP journalists aimed at creating awareness on activities of ECOWAS, the CDP and deepening regional integration among others.

She said the prisons like other institutions admit all manners of people including the unemployed and professionals and have lot to offer society when they are given the needed assistance.

She mentioned a number of infrastructure development and projects that inmates had undertaken over the years in the country towards national development noting that all that the inmates and the Service required was support in kind or cash.

Madam Baffour-Awuah regretted the sluggish and look-warm attitude including total neglect that section of the society including their relatives and friends, gave inmates.

When that happened, she said, it could compel those released to go back to do what they did before their incarceration.

In the quest of bringing transformation into the lives of the inmates, Madam Baffour-Awuah said her outfit had initiated a number of programmes and projects with the assistance of government and institutions in the areas of education, vocational and skills training among others activities.

She, therefore, asked individuals, groups and corporate organisations to come to the aid of the Service since government alone cannot do all looking at the number of agencies that depend on it for assistance and the payment of emolument of workers.

The Director-General entreated journalists to be circumspect in their reportage, especially during the electioneering year.

She was particularly worried about the political ‘hate speech’and urged the network to help tame it, saying the role of journalists to national development cannot be over emphasised.

The leader of the delegation and Chairman of the ECOWAS-CDP media network, Francis Asamoah Tuffour, commended the Prisons Service for the numerous initiatives and programmes it had undertaken over the years.

He pledged the group’s determination to work together with the Service and other stakeholders in pursuit of peace, security and national development.

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour     

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