Prisoners' reformation is everyone's responsibility - Prison Evangelists
Accra, March 25, GNA - Reverend David Ofosuhene, Vice Chairman, Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE), on Wednesday said the aftercare and rehabilitation of convicts and ex-convicts is not the sole responsibility of COPE and the Ghana Prisons Service, but the entire nation.
'Although, it is the responsibility of the Prison Service to start the rehabilitation process of convicts, the entire nation is responsible for their welfare as well'.
Reverend Ofosuhene said this at the 10th Anniversary celebration and workshop on aftercare of COPE Ghana in Accra on March 25.
He explained that private organisations also assist in identifying prospective candidates for aftercare projects in order for them not to be liabilities but assets to the state.
He said convicts and ex-convicts usually require certain after care help in terms of accommodation, food, jobs and clothing, needed for their reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.
Deputy Director-General of Prisons (DDGP), Mike Owusu Amponsah, delivering a statement on behalf of the Director General of Prisons said, the core business and roles of the Ghana Prisons Service are optimised in what social workers refer to as aftercare service, "we are as a service, obliged to ensure the safety, well-being, reformation and rehabilitation of our inmates."
After care service commences at the very instance that the offender is admitted into prison custody.
DDGP Amponsah, however, asked the public to accept ex-convicts and help them reintegrate after their release from custody.
He also urged parents to give their children attention and proper training so that they did not become wayward.
'May I appeal to the Public to turn their attention to the service and help it overcome the numerous challenges, including overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate logistics, medical care, accommodation and resources for inmates training?'
DDGP Amponsah commended COPE Ghana for its yearly support to the service and urged them to prolong their support in terms of education and offering vocational training as well as centres to inmates.
He also called on Corporate Organizations, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, religious bodies, civil society organizations to assist them by initiating the establishment of an Industrial Fund to be used to refurbish and re-tool their vocational training centres.
Representatives from bodies including the Interior Ministry, Social Welfare, Health Ministry, and Legal Aid Scheme were present at the event to deliberate on how best aftercare care can be set up for the ex-convicts.
COPE is a voluntary coalition of prison evangelists, churches and organisations working in prisons in Ghana and is affiliated to the parent organisation, COPE international, which has its headquarters in Texas.
COPE's aims and objectives are to facilitate the information of convicts and reintegration of ex-convicts into the larger society, promote collaboration and unity among the various prison ministries and other organisations working in the prisons,to offer out of prison counselling and support to ex-convicts.
It also aims at supporting ex-convicts with the start-up capitals to make them independent and responsible and to establish an aftercare project for ex-convicts.