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21.04.2004 General News

Babies In Jail

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Sunyani (B/A) - Two female inmates at the Sunyani Prisons are languishing in jail with their babies in prison. Yaa Ophilia and Akua Febri, who are serving various sentences, are respectively nursing a nine-month-old baby boy and a four-month old baby girl.

This was made known to Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister of Interior, when he visited the Prisons on Monday.

Febri, who said she had spent one year out of her three-year-sentence, had named her daughter after Ms. Hannah Asiamah, Deputy Officer Commanding at the female prisons.

It was noticed that colleague inmates contributed to the caring of the babies as their natural mothers went about their work schedules.

The Interior Minister advised the 25 female inmates to learn a lesson from their incarceration and change for the better after serving their jail terms.

At the Central Prisons, which has 606 male inmates, Mr Owusu-Agyeman was led by Mr. Ambrose I. Salifu, Regional Prison Commander to inspect conditions in the cells, most of which had water-closet toilets, provided under the present government.

He expressed concern about the plight of some inmates who had been on remand for years without being sent to court by the Police and subsequently directed the Acting Director-General of Prisons Service, Mr. William Asiedu, to furnish the Ministry with the names of such persons for the necessary action.

Mr. Salifu commended the Regional Director of Health Services, Alhaji (Dr) Mohammed Bin Ibrahim, for his approval for sick inmates to be treated at the Regional Hospital on credit basis.

The need for such administrative assistance emanated last year when most of the inmates developed strange body rashes and when a report was made to the hospital the Regional Medical Director personally led a team of health personnel to the Central Prisons to examine them, he noted. The Prison Commander added that seventeen of the sick inmates were diagnosed to have tuberculosis whilst two others proved HIV positive. Mr Salifu said the TB patients were referred to Ankaful hospital in the Central Region for treatment, but one of the HIV positive patients had since died at the Sunyani Regional Hospital.

He complained about only one nurse at the Central Prisons and appealed to the Minister to help rectify the situation. The Minister promised to look into the requests and demands of the Service in the region and advised the warders to have compassion on the inmates "as they are also human beings despite their incarceration".

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