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13.09.2008 Social News

OVER POPULATION AT NSAWAM PRISONS… Now accommodates 3,000 inmates instead of 717

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The Eastern Regional Commander and a Deputy Director at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons, DSP Ansong Yeboah, has expressed concern over congestion at the Nsawam Prisons, which is now accommodating 3,000 inmates, instead of its original capacity of 717.

This, he noted had put pressure on staff, logistics and quality healthcare at the prisons.

Speaking at a press conference, on the prison's premises on Wednesday, he noted that the population of remand prisoners continued to swell up each passing day, with the figure now standing at 1,903, which represented 64% of the total inmate population.

He mentioned that the prison, since its construction, had not seen any major renovation, resulting in the housing blocks leaking badly, and that there was the urgent need for the re-wiring of the entire prison's electrical systems.

According to one inmate, Derrick Mensah, a condemned prisoner, most of the remand prisoners were innocent, but their right of appeal after conviction, had not been successful.

According to him, the necessary help, needed for them to go on with the appeal, was not forthcoming. A lot of them had therefore become depressed.

On behalf of his colleagues, he requested that permanent doctors be sent to the prison, to take good care of those who were seriously sick, as a result of the trauma they were going through.

The Minister of the Interior, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufour, who donated some items to the inmates, said government would try its best to address all their challenges, to make life easier in the prison.

He acknowledged the government efforts in providing resources like chainlink fencing, improving the sewerage system, by providing sanitary and ablution facilities, as well as providing polytanks to improve the water supply system.

He asserted that the government had as well improved the road network, provided Gota radio sets, paid for 130 vehicles, out of which 75 have been delivered, provided workshop equipment, and introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the prison.

The Minister as well made known the introduction of a Primary, Junior High School (JHS), Senior High School (SHS) and an ICT centre, under the President's Special Initiative, on education at the prison.

He appealed to the inmates to comport themselves well, and take advantage of the workshops, educational facilities, and ICT Centre, to equip themselves for life outside prison.

He urged them to aim at being gainfully employed, when they leave the prison.

He reiterated government's commitment to improving upon conditions in the Prisons Service, as well as the general welfare of inmates.

The Interior Minister said government was coming up with several interventions, to adequately resource the institution, and cater to the well-being of service personnel and inmates.

Dr Addo-Kufuor, who toured every nook and cranny of the facility, commended the officers for the efficient and humane manner, the affairs of the inmates had been managed, even with the meagre resources at their disposal.

He also urged the inmates to comport themselves, and to take advantage of the many training facilities within the prison, to develop themselves for reintegration into society.

The inmates asked government to consider other categories of prisoners for amnesty, particularly those who had been on remand for long periods without trial, as well as those whose sentences had been commuted from death to life imprisonment.

He gave the assurance that his ministry would collaborate with the Attorney General's Department, to ensure that attention was paid to the prisoners' concerns.

Mr. William Asiedu, Director-General of the Ghana Prisons Service, commended government for the support it had given the Service over the past seven years, which had led to significant achievements.

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