President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated the commitment of the government to decongest the country’s prisons.
At the graduation ceremony of Officer Cadet Course Intake 25 of the Ghana Prisons Service at the Prisons Officers Training School in Accra yesterday, the President said the capacity of the country’s prisons, built to accommodate some 9,875 inmates, had been exceeded by some 48 per cent.
“The Nsawam Prison, for example, was built to house 850 inmates. Its current occupancy stands at 3,450 inmates, of which 223 are remand prisoners.
Originally, there was no provision for remand prisoners at Nsawam,” he said.
Justice for all
The President noted that the Justice for All Programme, which had chalked up some successes, was expanding steadily to cover prison facilities such as the Nsawam Medium Security Prison and prisons in Tarkwa, Sekondi, Akuse, Obuasi and Winneba.
Under the Justice for All Programme, President Akufo-Addo said two projects, namely the construction of a 2,000-capacity remand prison at Nsawam and the expansion of residential accommodation for staff at the Ankaful Maximum Security Prison, had been started and would be completed and operationalised soon.
Also, construction work on a new prison camp at Ejura in the Ashanti Region is progressing steadily and hopefully, it will be handed over to the Prison Administration by the end of this year.
President Akufo-Addo commended the Prisons Service for focussing on agriculture.
Already, the Prisons 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.
The initiative, the President said, would help the Prisons Service take advantage of the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, as well as serve the dual purpose of training inmates in modern practices of agricultural production and also help generate income to supplement the government’s subvention to the service.
President Akufo-Addo also revealed that the number of medical personnel assigned to the Prisons Service had also been increased and soon, all prison infirmaries across the country would be upgraded and adequately resourced.
In addition to providing logistical and infrastructural support to the Prisons Service, the government, the President said, had also given clearance for the recruitment of 1,000 young men and women to augment the staff strength of the service.
Two officer cadets, Stephen Kumah and Mabel Asomaning, were adjudged the Best-all-round Senior-Under-Officer and the Best in Academic Performance Junior-Under-Officer respectively.