The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) has begun an initiative which will ensure that each prison facility in the country is equipped with a fish farm to help in the rehabilitation of inmates.
As a result, the ministry last Monday donated 1,600 fingerlings and 235 bags of fish feed to the James Camp Prison at Roman Ridge in Accra to increase the capacity of the prison’s already established fish farm.
The Minister of MoFAD, Ms Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, who led a team from the ministry to make the donation, said as a rehabilitation centre, the prison served as a correctional facility for inmates and must always be equipped with the needed facilities to ensure the reformation of all prisoners before they were reintegrated into the society.
She said her visit to the prison was to help increase the capacity of prisoners in aquaculture and position it as a worthy source of livelihood for inmates when they were freed.
“I can see some really handsome faces here and I believe that this is not your place so I am glad that the prison service is doing something to equip you so that you can rejoin the society as responsible citizens,” she said.
Ms Afoley Quaye also assured the management of the prison that the ministry would construct one of the newly improved fish smoking ovens known as the Ahoto oven at the facility to help the prison add value to some of the fish they produced before selling them on the market.
The Ahoto ovens emit less smoke and, therefore, have reduced levels of potential of hydrogen (pH) found in fish smoked locally using other ovens.
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“You must add value to the fish you produce here and that is why we will equip you with an Ahoto oven,” she said.
James Camp Prison
Established in 1948, the James Camp Prison is the only prison in the Greater Accra Region that caters for male prisoners at the moment, following the closure of the Usher Fort and James Town prisons.
It currently has 300 male inmates with an average age of 25.
Speaking later in an interview with the Daily Graphic, a deputy director of prisons, and the officer in charge of the James Camp Prison, Mrs Patience Baffoe Bonnie, said although the prison had a pond, the donation would help scale up the capacity of the farm and also provide alternative skill sets for the inmates.
“We encourage inmates to acquire different skill sets when they are here so fish farming will go a long way to support that vision and we are very appreciative of the gesture,” she said.
Mrs Baffoe Bonnie however called on citizens to support the prison by patronising some of the items produced by the inmates to boost their enthusiasm to produce more and perfect their skills.
She said presently, the prisoners were producing aquariums, clothing, bags and beads among other items.
Mrs Baffoe Bonnie said the prison also had tracts of land for crop farming, and encouraged the government to support them with the needed inputs to cultivate the land.