Approval has been given for the recruitment of 1,000 personnel into the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS) this year.
The Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, who announced this at the graduation of the Intake 24 of the Prisons Service Training School in Accra yesterday, said the move formed part of measures to bridge the human resource gap in the service.
According to him, there were plans by the government to retool the GPS by providing the right infrastructure and equipment to enable the personnel to operate in accordance with international standards.
At the ceremony, 40 personnel, made up of 31 males and nine females who went through a nine-month cadet officers course from April, 2017, were inducted into the service, bringing the total number of personnel across the country to 5,898.
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Present at the ceremony were kingpins and heads of the security agencies, including the Director-General of the Ghana Prisons Service, Mr Patrick Darko Missah, the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante-Apeatu, the Comptroller General of the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, as well as former directors-general of the GPS.
Speaking after reviewing and superintending over the graduation of the cadet officers, the minister said the government had begun processes to address the challenges that had confronted the service over the years, including the provision of required logistics that would make the personnel of the service work well.
He said efforts were being made to upgrade the Prison Officers Training School with modern facilities and professional expertise to facilitate the training of skilled correctional officers.
In line with that objective, he said plans were advanced to modify the curriculum of the training school to comprehensively address contemporary issues.
Mr Dery noted that the government had started supplying tractors and other farm implements to the prisons to help boost agricultural productivity as part of the Planting for Food and Jobs policy.
"In response to a recent needs assessment conducted to highlight the strengths and opportunities of the service, government has supplied tractors, planters and other equipment in a move to commercialise agricultural production to boost productivity.
"The cost of feeding inmates continues to take a huge chunk of the government subvention to the service so it is expected that the new agriculture commercialisation drive of the service will help supplement substantially the GH¢1.80 feeding rate per day for each prisoner," he said.
He urged the graduates and other prison officers to continue to upgrade their knowledge and skills since crime management was fast changing.
The Prisons Service Training School was established in September, 1947 and was called the Warders' Training Depot.
Serving as the only training facility for prison officers, its primary mandate is to train the required manpower to meet the administrative and operational needs of the service.
The school has courses ranging from recruit courses, officer cadet courses and special courses.
Since the first intake of the cadet officers course took place in 1974, 23 intakes have been held, with the penultimate edition being in 2015.