The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Afadzato South, Angela Oforiwaa Alorwu-Tay, has called on corporate bodies, churches and public-spirited individuals to make constant efforts to contribute to the welfare of prisoners, in the broader national interest.
She said convicts needed the love and support from the entire society to reform.
Mrs Alorwu-Tay made the remarks when she donated a deep freezer worth GH¢7, 000 to the Ho Central Prison on Easter Sunday, before taking part in a church service with the inmates.
The gesture, which was part of the MP’s Easter programme for the correctional centre, also coincided with the celebration of her 51st birthday which fell last Saturday.
The MP said convicts were still an integral part of the country and they could contribute in various ways to development after serving their time.
Dignity in prison
Aside from that, Mrs Alorwu-Tay said, accused persons could get wrongly convicted, and for that matter, no convicted prisoner should undergo any form of unfair physical or mental treatment behind bars.
“A convict loses his or her right to personal freedom and not the right to personal dignity,” she added.
The Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP) in-charge of the Volta Region, Martin Darku, expressed gratitude for the freezer and said the donation was timely and a big relief.
“We can now store food items in large quantities,” he stated.
Mr Darku said there were now 438 inmates at the prison which had a capacity of 170.
He said the welfare of prisoners must not be left to the government alone, and appealed to the public to support the prison in various ways to feed the inmates and also help to prepare them for their re-integration into the society, after their release.
The NDC MP for Ho Central, Benjamin Kpodo, bemoaned the unnecessarily long periods some remand prisoners spend behind bars, waiting for their cases to be heard in the law courts.
“We expect convicts to serve time behind bars and not those who are not convicted,” he said.
For instance, Mr Kpodo cited the case of a remand prisoner at the Ho Central Prison who had been behind bars for the past eight years, waiting to be tried for murder; and appealed to the Ghana Prisons Service to collaborate with the Judicial Service to work out the necessary modalities for remand prisoners to have their cases heard in good time.