‘Provide special facilities for physically challenged inmates’

Mr. Ambrose Dery, Minister Designate for the Interior

Mr. Ambrose Dery, Minister Designate for the Interior

The government has been urged to consider building special facilities in the country’s prisons to accommodate physically and mentally challenged inmates.

In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, the Executive Director of the Crime Check Foundation and Ambassador Extraordinaire of Prisons, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, said the situation where blind persons, for instance, had to share the same facilities with other inmates had resulted in untold difficulties to such inmates.

It said such persons had to undergo undue stress with some of them sustaining various degrees of injuries.

The statement cited the situation where a blind inmate, Daniel Adarkwa, who was recently released on presidential pardon, complained about persistently soiling himself with his faeces, unfortunately because he could not properly locate the right squatting position anytime he visited the toilet.

Mr. Adarkwa, according to the statement, also claims he had to be helped to the bathroom, anytime he had to bath.

It said such a situation did not only undermine the vision of the Ghana Prisons Service in its reformation and rehabilitation agenda, but also constituted a gross violation of the human rights of the physically challenged in prison.

The statement expressed concern about the lack of proper classification of prisoners in the country’s prisons that had led to mentally challenged inmates, sometimes sharing the same space with other inmates, describing it as dangerous and unacceptable.

It said the development put undue pressure on prison authorities to constantly ‘police’ such inmates to prevent them from harming their colleagues and officers.

The statement expressed disappointment about the neglect of mentally challenged persons in prison by the Mental Health Authority, usually under the excuse of budgetary constraints.

It expressed shock at the way such inmates also slipped through the hands of judges who usually failed to notice their true mental state, and called on the judiciary to ensure the placement of psychiatrists on the bench during the determination of cases involving accused persons who exhibited traits of mental instability.

The statement expressed the hope that government would proactively seek to address the numerous challenges facing the Prisons Service to enable it to discharge its obligations as a purely correctional institution.

GNA

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