Ghana’s prison overcrowding hit 55.49 per cent as the prison population currently is 15,461 instead of 9,945 standard capacity for prisons, the Prisons Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Prisons, Vitalis Aiyeh has disclosed.
He expressed worry about the situation stating that it promoted infections, spread of communicable disease, contamination and poor sanitation, among others.
The PRO said this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, enumerating some of the contributory factors of congestion in the country’s prisons as high sentences and absence of alternative sentence such as community service.
Supt. Aiyeh said as part of efforts to reduce the congestion, the Justice for all Programme (JEFAP) was introduced in 2007 and 4,432 had so far benefited from it.
Supt Aiyeh said the various prisons health posts had been upgraded to hospitals with doctors and 50 nurses to improve the health needs of the inmates.
He said to reintegrate prisoners into the society, the inmates were engaged in vocational skills such as carpentry, aquaculture, and farming among others.
The PRO appealed to the government to increase the feeding fee which was currently GH¢1.80 pesewas daily for inmates.
“The feeding is one of the challenging factors, each inmate is given GH¢1.80 for three square meals daily which is inadequate and this has continued for the past 10 years,” he said.
Supt Aiyeh urged the public not to stigmatise ex-convicts but accept them into the society adding “When we abandon them in the society, they feel rejected and they go back to the same crimes they committed.”
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI AND AGNES OPOKU SARPONG