ER Minister not happy about conditions in Koforidua Prisons
4/20/2012 1:17:52 AM -
Koforidua, April 19, GNA - Mr Victor Smith, the Eastern Regional Minister, has deplored the poor conditions of the Koforidua Prisons saying the place is a recipe for destruction and not reformation which was needed for the benefit of socio-economic development.
Speaking to newsmen after visiting the cells of the inmates where about 80 persons are sleeping in one cubicle creating severe congestion, he said the treatment at the prisons would only hardened the criminals and not reform them as their confinement had been meant for.
Mr Smith therefore called for a better condition of living at the prisons to ensure that prisons provided the platform for reformation and rehabilitation and not an avenue of inhuman treatment as if prisoners were no human beings.
He stressed that the state owed it as a duty to prisoners in the name of human rights to provide better conditions irrespective of crime that they had committed because sentencing to prison terms did not mean death.
Mr Smith said the law courts must find ways of dealing with minor cases such as corporal punishment as a means of decongesting the prisons and indicated that although people must suffer for the penalty of their actions, there should be a better way out.
According to him being imprisoned whereby one was deprived of so many things was enough that conditions such as sleeping, bathing and eating should not be that bad as it pertains at the Koforidua prisons.
He noted that apart from the state of the prisons being recipe for destruction, it also endangered the lives of the officers because they were faced with the risk of being infected with contagious diseases.
The Regional Minister who could not hold back his sentiments said even the treatment of dead persons appeared better than that of the prison inmates and urged the state to do away with the impression that prisoners did not deserve any better treatment and pay a little attention to them.
Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP), Kumah Kpeli, in-charge of the prison, said the Koforidua prison, which was built for a capacity of 120 inmates housed over 600 inmates due to the crime wave.
He said the inmates' population stood at 389 convicts, 212 remands, 27 trials, four lodgers and five foreigners making a total of 637 with a staff population of 178.