The authorities at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison have stated that the inadequate feeding grant allocated to the inmates of the facility is gravely affecting the smooth operations of the prison.
They said currently each of the 2,934 inmates was fed three meals daily with just GH¢1.80, which they described as “a problem to us.”
“Even now our suppliers are not giving us food because we owe them, and it is over one year,” they said.
Increase feeding rate
The Officer in charge (OIC) of the Nsawam Medium Security Prison Deputy Director of Prison (DDP) Samuel Owusu Amponsah, who made this known yesterday, said “this feeding grant is not enough to feed one adult person in a day. So, we will like the government to increase the feeding fee so that we can give the prisoners a good three square meals each day”.
This came to light when the Legal Committee of the Council of State paid a working visit to the facility.
The four-member team, led by its chairman, Sam Okudzeto, visited the prison to familiarise itself with challenges facing its smooth operations and to help find out how those challenges could be resolved.
Mr Amponsah told the committee that there were a number of challenges confronting the smooth administration of the prison such as inadequate medical supplies as well as overcrowding and its associated health problems.
He said the prison was originally built with the capacity to accommodate 317 inmates but currently there were 2,934 inmates and “sometimes it goes up to 4,000”.
Mr Amponsah said the lack of security scanners had compelled personnel to use their bare hands to conduct search on inmates.
“During the COVID-19 period, it was dangerous for us, and because of human rights, some searches cannot be done on the prisoners because it will infringe on their rights,” he said.
DDP Amponsah appealed to the government to support the prison with scanners, vehicles, a hospital to take care of officers and inmates, computers to digitise recording keeping of the inmates as well as agriculture machinery to allow the facility venture into large-scale farming to supplement the feeding of the inmates.
Mr Okudzeto acknowledged the challenges facing the biggest prison in Ghana, especially overcrowding, saying those challenges would not be different from those having smaller facilities across the country.
“Even the prisoner has human rights because he is a human being; so being packed like sardines and sleeping on the floor in the cells is injurious to their health and mental wellbeing,” he said.
He said prisons were no longer regarded as places for punishment but reforms and called for the needed atmosphere to be provided to facilitate the reformation of inmates.
Mr Okudzeto, therefore, gave an assurance that the committee would work with the Ghana Prison Service to come up with recommendations to the Presidency on what could be done to improve situation at the facility.