The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has charged the Prisons Council to help government in finding ways to improve conditions within our prisons to meet the changing trends of prison philosophy.

He indicated that, the prison facilities in the country were not in the best of condition to offer the current demand of modern prison as a place of reform, rehabilitation and re-integration and not for just custody.

Vice President Bawumia made the appeal after he had sworn in a 13-Member Ghana Prisons Service Council in Accra.

Addressing the Council, Vice President Bawumia noted that, apart from the Ankaful Maximum Security and Nsawam Medium Security Prisons, all other prison facilities had not seen much infrastructure expansion and rehabilitation since the colonial days to offer the best training to inmates.

He stated that with the growth in the country’s population, there was the need to expand the prison infrastructure with modern facilities, rehabilitation tools and trained personnel to manage the situation for better outputs to meet the corresponding increase in crime and deviant behaviours.

“Our prison facilities are inhumane, overpopulated and riddled with attendant threat of outbreak of diseases, negative survival behaviours and human rights abuses. The issue of human rights is of much concern to the Government, we should remember that although inmates are confined as prisoners let us not forget they have rights which should not be taken for granted,” he said.

To this end, Vice President Bawumia revealed that the Government would champion the non-custodian sentencing law to offer more non-custodian sentencing option to the judges in order to avoid overcrowding the country’s prisons.

He further charged the Council to adopt a public-private partnerships to build new prison facilities and also relocate the ones within urbanized towns to appropriate locations.

In respect of enhancing the performance of the Ghana Prisons Service to meet international best practices in prison administration, Vice President Bawumia revealed  that, approval has been given to the Prison Service to recruit one thousands officers.

Speaking on behalf of the members, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, and a member of the Council, thanked the President for the confidence reposed in them and assured him of their readiness to work diligently to meet the mandate.

The 13-member Council consist of Most Rev. Peter Paul Yelezuome Angkyier, Chairperson, Mr. Ambrose Dery, Minister for the Interior, Mr. Patrick Darko Missah, Acting Director-General, Ghana Prisons Service, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, the Christian Council of Ghana and Mr. Akwasi Amoako Adjei, Ghana Bar Association.

Others are, Madam Yvonne Akakora Obuobisa, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department, Dr. Frank Anobea, Ghana Medical Association, Mr. Benjamin Akonu Otoo, Department of Social Welfare and Ms. Dorcas Bonnah.

The rest are Mr. Samuel Akampure Akolbire, Ghana Prisons Service, Buipe-wura Mahama Abdulai Jinapor II, a representative of the National House of Chiefs, Madam Sarah M. Adetola, President’s nominee and Madam Matilda Baffour-Awuah, also a President’s nominee.

The Ghana Prisons Service was established by Chapter 16 of the 1992 Constitution and mandates it as the custodian, rehabilitation and re-integration of prisoners.

Public Affairs & Com. Unit│ Accra, July 11, 2017