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18.03.2005 General News

Unscrupulous NGOs will not be tolerated - Prisons

By GNA

Accra, March 18, GNA - The Ghana Prisons Service on Friday said it would no longer tolerate unscrupulous non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which had used the prisons as an avenue to achieve their selfish gains.

Mr Israel Tsegah, Director of Prisons in charge of Human Resource Development, said the Service would ensure that all NGOs associated with it discharged their duties in line with laid down regulations.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Coalition of Prisons Evangelist-Ghana (COPE-Ghana), a Christian NGO, in Accra, he said the service would require non-profit entities to submit their annual reports and accounts to enable it to keep abreast with their work.

COPE-Ghana is an affiliate body of Coalition of Prisons Evangelist International (COPE International) based in the United States.

It is committed to using religion and information as a strategy to reform inmates and expose them to vocational training to ensure that they lived a decent life after their term of incarceration had elapsed. Mr Tsegah said government recognised NGOs as partners in efforts to keep and reform inmates to ensure that they fit into society.

"The Prison Service has come to realise that even though it is the responsibility of government to cater for prisoners, it would be an illusion to champion the task alone; we believe in partnership with other stakeholders in achieving our goals."

He commended COPE International for extending their work to the country and urged the local branch to abide by the laid down regulations when they were in the prison premises for security reasons.

The Reverend Johnny Moffitt, President COPE International, said if inmates were not thoroughly transformed they usually committed the same offences that sent them to prisons after their release. He said as a religious group, they believed in using the gospel to transform inmates, saying "the strong serve the weak and help them out of the doldrums".

Rev. Moffitt said COPE International through the prisons ministry had influenced the lives of thousands of American inmates who were now propagating the gospel vigorously. Professor J. N. D. Dodoo, President, COPE-Ghana, said they would facilitate the transformation and rehabilitation of inmates and ensure that they were adequately reintegrated into society.

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