President Nana Akufo-Addo has reiterated the commitment of his government to decongesting the prisons across the country.
He was speaking at the graduation ceremony of Officer Cadet Course Intake 25 of the Ghana Prisons Service, at the Prisons Officers Training School, on Thursday.
He noted that the country’s prisons, built to accommodate some 9,875 inmates, has been exceeded by some 48 percent.
“Nsawam prisons, for example, was built to house 850 persons. Its current occupancy stands at 3,450 persons, of which 223 are remand prisoners. Originally, there was no provision for remand prisoners at Nsawam.”
In view of this, the President said: “we need to do something about these figures, and my Government is determined to so.”
Among the government’s moves will be the expansion of the Justice for All Programme to cover prison facilities such as the Nsawam Medium Security Prison, and to prisons in Tarkwa, Sekondi, Akuse, Obuasi and Winneba.
Under the Programme, two projects, namely the construction of a 2,000 capacity remand prison at Nsawam, and the expansion of residential accommodation for staff at Ankaful Maximum Security Prison, have been started.
“Already, the Service has taken delivery of five tractors, four mechanical planters, and a number of other agricultural equipment to increase the production of cash crops and staples. Also, construction work on a new prison camp in Ejura, in the Ashanti Region, is progressing steadily, and, hopefully, will be handed over to the Prison Administration by the end of this year,” he added.
This, the President said, will help the Prisons Service take advantage of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme and aid in the rehabilitation of prisoners.
The President assured the Director General of the Prisons Service of his support to help change and sanitise the reformation and rehabilitation effort of the country’s prisons
“It is important that we give them the assurance of a better life after prison, by upholding their dignity and human rights. Officers of the Service must, at all times, exhibit high levels of discipline and professionalism in the discharge of their duties,” he added.