The Director of Amnesty International Ghana, a Human Rights focused Organization, Mr Frank Kwaku Doyi, has suggested to government to urgently review the feeding grants for prison inmates upwards from the current GH₵1.80 daily to GH₵5.00 to effectively help cater for their needs.
He further expressed regret that the GH₵1.80 daily allocation meant for each inmate was woefully inadequate and could not provide decent meals for them.
“Considering the economic situation of today, we have realized that the GH₵1.80 is woefully inadequate and we are appealing to the state through the Ministry of the Interior and the Ghana Prison Service to do something about it, we would have called for an increase from GH₵1.80 to GH₵5.00 on the average,” he noted.
Mr Doyi, made the suggestion on the sidelines of the organization’s 2021 Annual General Assembly Meeting held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region last Friday.
It was on the theme, “Human rights protection and fulfilment, a tool for fighting poverty in Ghana.”
The Director indicated that Amnesty International Ghana conducted a research in 2011 and presented a proposal to the government that led to the increase of the feeding grants of inmates to the current rate.
He however said due to instability of the economy over the years leading to increase in prices of goods and services, there was the need for government to urgently work to increase their feeding grant to at least GH₵5.00.
The Director further called on government to take major steps to decongest the prisons and to make them more conducive for living.
He said apart from the urgent need for government to build more improved cells and decent environments as a way of decongesting the prisons and promoting healthy living, there was the need to also consider non-custodian sentences for people who have committed minor crimes.
He said, “the other critically important thing we have been advocating for is the adoption of non-custodian sentences for petty offences so that they can be given community services and this would help decongest the prisons.”
Mr Doyi underscored the need for Ghana to honour its pledges to various international, national treaties and conventions including the International Covenant for Economic and Social Right, and International Covenant for Civil and Political Right which placed emphasis on protection for all including prison inmates.
“We are all at risk, anybody could find himself or herself in the prison at any time at all and the fact that people have committed offences for which reason they should be punished, does not mean that we should not respect their dignity,” the Director further pointed out.
“Our own 1992 Constitution, Article 15, clause one states that the dignity of all persons shall be invaluable and one way of protecting prison inmates is to make sure that they are adequately fed, health issues addressed and their environments are conducive for human living and rehabilitation,” he added