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DEPOPULATE PRISONS FIRST TO ENSURE REHABILITATION – PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO

General News

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said that the process of rehabilitating prisoners would come to a nought, if the problem of overcrowding in prisons is not addressed.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said that the process of rehabilitating prisoners would come to a nought, if the problem of overcrowding in prisons is not addressed.

 

According to him, what threatens the rehabilitation effort within the prisons is the problem of overcrowding.

He made this known yesterday at the graduation parade of officer cadres of the Ghana Prisons Service at Roman Ridge.

“I believe I am not alone in expressing shock at the distressing images we see circulating on social media about our overcrowded prisons,” he said, adding that the country’s prisons with an initial capacity of 9,875 inmates have exceeded its capacity nationally  by almost 50%.

“Nsawam prisons for instance was built to house 850 persons is current occupancy stands at 3450 persons of which 223 are remand prisoners. Originally there was no provision for remand prisoners at Nsawam,” President Akufo-Addo disclosed.

To this end, he said, his administration is bent on tackling the overcrowding issue and mentioned that the Justice for All programme, launched 2007 to decongest the prisons by ensuring speedy trials as one example.

“Following the successes chalked, the programme is expanding steadily to cover prison facilities such as the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons and to prisons in Tarkwa, Sekondi, Akuse, Obuasi and Winneba,” he said.

The President further explained that under the programme, two projects, the construction of a 2000 capacity remand prison at Nsawam and the expansion of residential accommodation for staff at Ankaful maximum security prisons, have stated.

I want to assure the prison service that even though these projects have stalled; government will get the contractors back on site very soon so that these projects are completed and operationalize,”
he said.

In addition to providing logistical and infrastructural support to the Service, government, he added, has also given clearance for the recruitment of 1,000 young men and women to augment the staff strength of the Service.

The President assured the Director General of the Prisons Service of his support to help change and sanitise the reformation and rehabilitation effort of the country’s prisons.

He explained that the media landscape is replete with many examples of persons who become hardened in prison, and are unable to successfully integrate themselves into the society upon their release, and, thus, end up perpetrating criminal acts, which bring them back to prison.

“It is important that we give them the assurance of a better life after prison, by upholding their dignity and human rights. Officers of the Service must, at all times, exhibit high levels of discipline and professionalism in the discharge of their duties,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo urged the country’s security services to guard jealously the peace, security and stability of the nation.