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Junior Girls Correctional Centre appeals for support

BY: Caroline Boateng
Mrs love-grace ahlijah
Mrs love-grace ahlijah

The Deputy Director of the Junior Girls Correctional Centre in Accra, Mrs Love-Grace Ahlijah, has appealed for support for the centre to give a facelift to its facilities which are in a deplorable state.

She said inadequate funding was making administering the centre very difficult.

She was speaking at a roundtable discussion on the theme: Juvenile Justice System in Ghana: Meeting the objectives of Ghana's correctional centres.”

The meeting was organised by the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD-Ghana) in Accra last Wednesday.

Funding gap

"We do not have many facilities as the Senior Correctional Facility," Ms Ahlijah said, pointing out that, the situation posed challenges to their efforts to transform, reform and reintegrate inmates.

She said the centre lacked a remand centre, which was critical for juveniles whose cases were in the process of being heard in court.

“We should, therefore, ask ourselves where juveniles on remand are being sent to,” she posited.

Ms Ahlijah said most Ghanaians did not even know the existence or location of the facility, as it did not have the character of a centre for the reformation of children.

The facility, she explained, was actually supposed to be the remand centre for juveniles but did not also have an infirmary.

“Girls fall sick at night and have to be carried to the nearest bus stop for public transport to the nearest clinic or hospital,” she stated.

Counsellors needed

Ms Ahlijah said the centre did not have a professional counsellor for girls brought with a detention order, who required the services of one.

According to Ms Ahlijah, juveniles in senior high school who fell foul of the law had their education truncated, because the facility, unlike the senior correctional facility, did not have schools or means for them to continue their education.

They, therefore, have to attend the vocational training on the premises.

She appealed to Ghanaians to visit the centre and see things for themselves, adding that visiting and getting to know the situation would convince the public to lend their support.

Classification/administration

During the discussions, it came to light that while the Senior Correctional Facility was run by the Ghana Prisons Service and was only for male juveniles, the Junior Correctional Facility was under the Social Welfare Department and was only for girls.

Ms Catherine Anyan-Ameku of the Legal Department of the Ghana Prisons Service explained that the laws governing juvenile correction made no provision for the centre under the Ghana Prison Service to be classified as senior or only for males, nor the facility under the Social Welfare Department to be classified as junior and only for females.

She advocated a second look at the classification and the structure of the correctional centre.

Inclusion

The Deputy Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Dr Franklin Oduro, in his remarks said it was evident that there were legal and policy gaps in the country's juvenile correctional system.

He said CDD-Ghana would use its platform to encourage discussions on getting the system right so that no one would be excluded in the development scheme.

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