02.05.2004 Regional News

Prison Service makes efforts to decongest remand prisoners

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Kumasi, May 2, GNA - The Kumasi Central Prison has started sending remand prisoners back to various police stations where they came from when they remained in the prison for a longer period of time without their cases being heard.

Assistant Superintendent of Prisons (ASP) Reverend Martin Padi, Chaplain of the Kumasi Central Prison who said this, indicated that it is a way to decongest the remand prison and also compel the police to seek for early judgement for the suspects.

ASP Rev Padi was explaining an issue at a press conference organised by Mmobrowa Foundation, a philanthropic non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the country on congestions at the various prisons in the country.

He noted that the increased crime wave in the country and their subsequent arrests by the police has also contributed to the congestion since these criminals are remanded in prison.

He said it was therefore, not surprising that about 96 people are kept in a room with no fan and that they sit down unable to stretch their legs day and night with no breathing space.

ASP Rev Padi said some people who might have committed minor offences spent three to four years at the remand prisons because the police officers who brought them there failed to come for them to be prosecuted.

"Suspects brought to the remand prisons are not under the authority of the Prison Service, they are just under our custody for the courts and the police", he added.

Mr Kwaku Owusu, chairman of the Mmobrowa Foundation, said one of the visions of the foundation was to support the prisons and prisoners in view of delayed justice so as to help reduce the money government spends on prisoners.

He said the Foundation which is to be launched in September this year intends to organise medical check-ups for about 500 people every month with special reference to the aged, orphans and persons released from prisons.

Mr Owusu said the foundation also seeks to build an open prison, which will be a rehabilitation centre in the country where prisoners with minor offences would be kept and trained to become self-employed. Miss Augustina Apea, Deputy Director of Nursing Services in-charge of public health, Ashanti, commended the NGO for adopting the whole female wards, D3 and 4 of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi.

She advised pregnant women to visit clinics for easy delivery so that KATH can maintain its status as a tertiary institution and a referral hospital.

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