A three-year project to train some selected prison officers of the Ghana Prison Service (GPS) was yesterday launched in Accra.
The project, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)and funded by the US Embassy, aimed to strengthen the compliance of the Ghana Prison Service (GPS) and the treatment of prisoners with the Nelson Mandela rules.
Speaking at the launch, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Interior, Ms Adelaide Anno-Kumi, in a speech on behalf of the Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, said the project would strengthen the capacity of officers of the GPS to ensure safe, secured and humane custody of prisoners, in line with the Nelson Mandela rules.
He said the Nelson Mandala rules would go a long way to promote a refined categorisation of prisoners in some selected prisons establishment across the country.
“The Ministry of interior supports the GPS in diverse ways to facilitate their effort to ensure that the welfare, reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners is secured” she stated.
Mr Dery said the project was in line with government’s vision to retool the GPS to become the centre of excellence in the corrections of management and administration.
“This project also comes at a time Ghana is developing the Community Service Bill which aims at decongesting the prisons,” she added.
Mr Dery said government was committed to supporting the prison service and called on individuals and stakeholders to put their resources together to make the prisons humane and better place.
The Director General of the GPS, Mr Isaac Kofi Egyir, commended the UNODC for their support, stating that the project would improve the condition of the prisoners and go a long way to help them in discharging their duties.
He said the prison service had had to contend someage old challenges which includedovercrowding, inadequate facilities for health care, education and training of inmates and limited opportunities for continuous human resources development and capacity building.
This, he said, had persistently impeded the progress of the service to fully attain international standards in prison and correctional management.
“There is now particular emphasis on the need to uphold the welfare and human right of prisoners, step up their reformation, rehabilitation and provide opportunities to enhance their effectual reintegration back to society,” he added.
He therefore thanked the US Embassy for their timely intervention towards the GPS and pledged their full participation towards the training.
The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie Sullivan, for her part said her outfit would continue to support the GPS through strengthening the service and the justice system of the country.
“I’m pleased to see Ghana making strides, therefore we support the project”, she reiterated.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR & ADWOA OCRAN