Ghana’s prisons congested …holds 4,972 more prisoners nationwide

Ghana’s prisons are overcrowded with 4,972 more than the actual capacity of 10,265, repre­senting about 48 per cent conges­tion rate.

As of Wednesday, the prison population stood at 15,237, made up of 15,062 males and 175 fe­males.

The Head of Public Relations of the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS), Chief Superintendent of Prisons, (CP) Vitalis Aiyeh who disclosed this to the Ghanaian Times in Accra said the congestion was affecting the health and quality of life of in­mates and called for the expansion of facilities across the country.

He said the establishment of a national prisons hospital to cater for the health needs of the over 15,000 inmates in the country’s prisons would be very helpful.

According to him, the absence of a dedicated hospital to handle the healthcare concerns of pris­oners often left them at the mercy of the general public, leading to stigmatisation and exposure of the officers to security risk.

Mr Aiyeh said although there were infirmaries at the prisons, such facilities could not handle major health cases and sick inmates had to be transferred to public hospitals for treatment.

“It is against this backdrop that the service is making a special ap­peal to the government to provide it with a hospital facility to cater for the health needs of inmates, officers and their immediate fami­lies,” he emphasised.

This, he said would help expedite action on the treatment of the over 15,000 inmates who may need immediate healthcare while serving their sentences.

The PRO said 3,740 inmates were on remand between January and June this year as against 3,314 of the previous year in the same period.

“The prisons have put in place strategies such as case tracking system and introduction of courts at the prisons to ensure fast track cases of remand cases at the pris­ons,” he added.

He said from January to June this year, there were 3,740 in­mates on remand in the country’s prisons nationwide as against 3,314 the previous year within the same period.

Chief Supt. Aiyeh mentioned some of the offences commit­ted by the inmates as murder, defilement fraud, unlawful entry, murder and rape.

He stated the major challenges facing the service were transpor­tation, feeding, congestion and urged the stakeholders to partner the service to help them in their operations.

Mr Aiyeh also appealed to the government to increase their feeding allocation for the inmates, adding that they were still fed on GH¢1.80 on three square meals daily since 2010.

Chief Supt. Aiyeh said the Pris­ons Service supports the feeding of inmates through the cultivation of maize, cocoa, palm, vegetables and others.

He assured the public of the Prisons Service continuous deter­mination to ensure safe custody of convicted persons, reformation and rehabilitation for their success­ful resettlement into society.

Chief Supt. Aiyeh stated that plans were far advanced to acquire lands in the Western North and Ashanti Regions as part of efforts to address the congestion and venture into agriculture at the country’s prisons.

Chief Supt. Aiyeh urged the public to desist from stigmatising against ex-convict but assist in their re-integration.

He said the inmates were taken through vocation skills including carpentry, masonry, mechanic and electronic among others.

“The service also provides skills for them in National Vocation Training Institute (NVTI), inmates have also sat and passed the Basic Education Certificate Examination among others,” he added.

Touching on the impact of COVID-19, he said it impacted on the service on their Internally Generated Fund.

“We did not relent in agriculture production, with support from government and other stakehold­ers providing us with tractors, we were able to increase production to supplement feeding,” he added.


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