Book on poor prison conditions in Africa launched

A book titled ‘”Transformation of Prison Systems in Africa”and authored by former Director General of the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS), Mr Richard Kuuire, was launched in Accra on Tuesday.

The 430 page-book, which highlights the poor conditions in most African prisons, outlines strategies towards reformation, rehabilitation and how stakeholders in the criminal justice system could work together to enhance good standards in prisons in general.

Thebook looks at overcrowding, malnutrition and poor health delivery in the prisons that do not meet international standards.

ProfessorJustice Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, Justice of Supreme Court, who launched the book, stated that without prosecution, there would be no obedience to the law, but as much as there was prosecution, reforms should be made in the prison systems for the benefit of every one.

“Prison systems are called systems for a reason, and all these systems must work together to achieve a fair and justifiable treatment for inmates in prison “, she said.

Prof. Mensah-Bonsu advised institutions involved in decision-making concerning people who flouted laws and taken to prison to work together to make reforms better.

She commended the author for not keeping his knowledge and experience all to himselfand urged other authors to take the necessary steps and write more books that would educate people on issues in the prisons.

MrKuuire said she wrote the book out of his experiences throughout his entire career, adding”throughout my journey, what I noticed was people in prison were not treated well. It shouldn’t be so, the stigma and the rejections must stop”.

He said “Government should have good policies and reforms to promote fair treatment. Every prisoner has his or her crime difference, but when you look through the prisons, no matter your crime difference, people are together”.

Mr Kuuire urged government to ensure more education and initiate the prison farm activities so that prisoners would not be found wanting to leave prisons, while improving upon their feeding .

“For years, the feeding rate of inmates have been GH₵ 1.80p. Government should at least do something about it. Inmates must be given the opportunity to develop their skills to improve their lives after they get out of the prison walls”.

BY ANITA ANKRAH

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