Bright Philip Donkor: A serene prison facility reforms lives

Feature Article Bright Philip Donkor: A serene prison facility reforms lives
MAY 14, 2021 LISTEN

There's an unfair condemnation about the Church of Pentecost (CoP) because it has built and donated a prison infrastructure to the Ghana Prisons Service at Ejura in the Ashanti Region. The assertions made by a section of Ghanaians that the church has failed humanity only demonstrates wisdom except common sense.

Whilst some people are angrily saying CoP should have built a factory, hospital or even a school, some are also saying that they do not see the prison as one thing that the country or that community urgently needs. Do you think setting up a food processing plant would miraculously rid Ghana of social vices? Or are the so-called first world countries with the best social amenities without any crimes?

Going forward, the issue of the prison not being an urgent or a dire need leaves me wondering. How? If you were a prisoner, I would have taken you more seriously. Urgency is a matter of perspective. If you don't agree with it, don't denigrate it.

Prison confinements are traditionally seen as corrective facilities. They are needed in every society and the inmates deserve the dignity of decent treatment. It is wrong for criminals to be allowed to walk the streets freely. Prison is meant for reformation and that is absolutely in the remit of the church. The purpose for this prison is right!

They have not failed humanity and Ghanaians. The Church of Pentecost is doing well and duly deserves to be appreciated. We can attest to the fact that, in March 2003, the founded the Pentecost University College. Since then, it's empowered students to serve their own generation and posterity with integrity and the fear of God.

That notwithstanding, the Church of Pentecost has a Vocational Training Institute which is strategically situated at Gbawe near Mallam. I wish to put on records that, in the year 1995, the women’s Wing of the Church of Pentecost saw the need to establish a Vocational Training Institute not only to take care of the educational needs of girls but also to reduce the rate of unemployment among women in the community and the country in general. The school was officially opened on 28th April 1998.

No one can debunk the fact that, other various educational institutions that we have in this country were put up by other Christian institutions. The typical examples I could cite are manifold so let's not go there.

Truth is, I am not a member of the Church of Pentecost, but I have observed how practical they have made the Christian faith. I have observed how willingly they’ve collaborated with the State for the good of the country. At a time when eyes are on the Church in particular for allegations of extortion, lack of care for the poor and cult worship, the good examples of the Church of Pentecost are worth highlighting.

For instance, in the wake of the global pandemic, what instrumental roles did the Church of Pentecost not play in augmenting government’s efforts towards curbing the spread of the Covid-19 in the country? The yeoman and the frontal role played by the Church of Pentecost in this whole fight against Covid-19 were enormous.

As parts of the church’s Corporate Social Responsibility to help the government in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the Church offered its 250 acre ultra-modern Pentecost Convention Centre at Gomao Fetteh, Central Region, to government as an isolation centre.

As though that was not enough, the Church donated 10 vans to the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to aid its public education activities on coronavirus. The Church also donated a full set of 50 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worth Gh20,000 to the Health Ministry.

In the epoch of this era, CoP in partnership with Tobinco Pharmaceuticals also donated personal protective logistics worth Gh45,000. 00 to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in support of efforts by the government in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Al these were aimed at augmenting government’s efforts towards curbing the spread of the virus in the country.

Even though, the execution of these commendable feats is not unique to the Church of Pentecost alone. There are other Churches such as the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, ICGC among others and the Moslem Community who are also involved in doing some of these things. However, the consistency with which the Church of Pentecost carries out these social responsibilities is worthy of appreciation, commendation, recognition and emulation.

It's an indisputable fact that, Ghana is confronted with many problems and congestion in our prisons is one of them. The Church of Pentecost has built the prison so that the congestion which is a great trouble and suffering for the prisoners are eased so they can have a little freedom and live like humans. I strongly believe, this is where it is justified.

The Church of Pentecost has done their part, perhaps someone else should emulate them by building a school, hospital or road. The fact that there are schools or factories to be built does not mean we should not improve the conditions of our prisons. It's a mistaken belief that once educational facilities or factories are built; crimes automatically fizzle out of sight. We shouldn't forget that we live in a country where people are educated but plunder the state at the top echelons of leadership. I call them - 'Academic and educational armed robbers'.

The Church of Pentecost has proven to be a first class cooperate citizen in the country. It’s sad how some people have taken the prison issue differently. It's just a matter of wrong place, wrong time and false accusations and we all can end up in the same congestion. Yet, people don't want to understand that not everyone in prison is guilty and deserved to suffer inhumane treatment. Even if they are guilty, they are still human beings who deserve some humane treatment.

The author, Bright Philip Donkor is a Student Journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). He's a Columnist, Social Activist and Prolific Feature Writer.

Writer's email: [email protected]