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27.12.2004 General News

Kumasi Central Prison reforming prisoners

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Kumasi, Dec 27, GNA - About 90 per cent of convicted persons who passed through the Kumasi Central Prisons show some form of reformation since out of 826 convicts and 515 remand prisoners, only 10 per cent returned to prison.

Mr Kofi Oppong Tweneboa-Kodua, Ashanti Regional Director of Prisons, attributed this to the engagement of Counsellors and Psychologists and the trade training being run in the prison.

He said this had created an opportunity for ex-convicts to be gainfully employed, pointing out that those who returned did not make use of the skills they acquired in prison or were rejected by their families.

Mr Tweneboa-Kodua was speaking during a visit to the Prison by Most Reverend Peter Akwasi Sarpong, Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi to celebrate Mass with the inmates as part of his yearly visits to the prisons on Boxing Day.

He said about 50 prisoners comprising 25 women and 25 men were undergoing the government's Skills Training and Employable Programme (STEP) in batik tie and dye for a period of six months after which another batch would follow.

Assistant Superintendent of Prisons (ASP) Reverend Father Martin Paddy, Ashanti Regional Chaplain of the Prison Service, commended Mr S K Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, Archbishop Sarpong, the Mmobrowa Foundation, an NGO and Churches for their support to the prisons. He said their regular donations were a big relief for the prison authorities and the government in meeting some of the problems and called on others to emulate their gesture.

Archbishop Sarpong called on the government and other employers to engage the services of ex-convicts since most of them reform after serving their sentences, adding that, this was very important since they would return to crime if they were idle.

He said, however, that the background of those to be engaged should be thoroughly investigated.

Archbishop Sarpong called on Prison Officers to show love, kindness and affection to prisoners.

He advised the prisoners not to see their term in prison as the "end of the road" but a period for stocktaking, reformation and taking firm decisions about their future.

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