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17.05.2004 General News

Borstal Institute lacks basic ammenities

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Accra, May 17, GNA - The Borstal Institute, the nation's premier juvenile correctional institution, lacks the basic technical and vocational training plant and equipment to transform the inmates. The Shoemaking, Carpentry, Tailoring, Basketry, Soap-Making and other vocational workshops of the Institute and the James Camp Prisons both at Roman Ridge have all broken down, the GNA learnt during a visit to the Institute on Sunday

The visit was facilitated by the Women's Wing of the Assemblies of God Deliverance Ministry, Kotobabi. The Wing - Joy Fellowship - presented assorted items valued at seven million cedis to the two institutions.

The items included; rice, sugar, maize, bread, soap, cartons of milk, fruits, kenkey and okra soup and plastic bowls. In an interview with the GNA, Assistant Superintendent of Prisons, Godwin Adjido expressed concern about the poor state of the Prisons and called on the Government and nongovernmental organizations to assist the two institutions.

He said they also lacked basic drugs for first aid treatment and a vehicle for normal operational duties stressing; "this hinders our work and dampens the spirit of officers".

ASP Adjido said the situation at the two institutions had been worsened by the regular inflow of inmates. The James Camp alone has about 344 male inmates between the ages of 20 years to 60 years. He said a permanent solution to the problem was for the courts to consider the imposition of non-custodial sentences such as suspended sentences bonds to be of good behaviour, especially where the crimes allegedly committed were not heinous.

"What is most worrying is the fact that apart from us not having appropriate facilities for inmates we also do not have appropriate budgetary cover for our annual estimates," he said.

The Reverend Delali Bodza, Head Pastor of the Assemblies of God Deliverance Ministry, Kotobabi, who led the women to present the items, said even though the aim of the Fellowship was to assist the disadvantaged and the handicapped in society, it was now focusing on prison inmates.

He said the Ministry and Joy Fellowship would work closely with the Prisons Service to ensure that the inmates had adequate training to meet the challenges of life when discharged.

Rev Bodza said the church had launched a transformation, reunion and settlement programme to help former inmates, their families and their communities.

He condemned the general stigmatisation of all inmates as societal misfits, saying some were victims of circumstances.

Rev. Bodza said through the Church's Resettlement Programme more than 300 former inmates had been reintegrated into the normal society with about 30 of them becoming Reverend Ministers within the Assemblies of God Ministry.

Rev. Joseph W. Okyere, National Director of Assemblies of God Prisons Ministry, appealed to the Government to improve upon facilities in the Prison Service.

Mrs Rose Adjei, Coordinator of Joy Fellowship, cautioned the Prison Authority to ensure that the items were not diverted adding that the donation was to alleviate some of the problems of the inmates.