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04.03.2006 General News

Strange disease hits Ho prisons

By Ghanaian Times

A strange skin disease has broken out in the Ho male Prison which is being attributed to congestion and non-availability of soap for bathing.

The disease appears in the form of spots on the body and develops into sores when scratched by the victim.

Inmates who are taken to the hospital and diagnosed are unable to get medication because the Prison Service is unable to meet the cost of the drugs.

These concerns came to light when the Volta Regional Minister, Kofi Dzamesi, accompanied by the Regional Chief State Attorney, Mrs Felicia Otchere-Darko, went on a familiarization tour of the Ho prisons to acquaint themselves with the problems facing the prisons and the inmates.

The Minister donated two bags of rice and cash of ¢2 million to the prison.

Seth Azaglo, spokesman for the inmates who told the visitors about the conditions in the cells, said one of the causes of congestion in the cells was the high number of persons on remand due to the inefficient investigative procedures of the police.

"The police are quick in arraigning suspects before court but lack the time and resources to do thorough investigations," he alleged.

Azaglo said that "the police tend to lose enthusiasm in the case and leave the remand persons to languish in jail.”

He appealed to the prison authorities to assist the police in their investigations when they are remanded.

Addressing the inmates, Mr Dzamesi said that the conditions of prisons in the region had improved considerably as compared to three years ago, but he gave assurance that the Regional Coordination Council will give the prisons further assistance to further improve the situation.

He advised the inmates to desist from negative tendencies while in prison so that after serving their terms, society would be able to absolve them.

Mr Jacob Agambire, Volta Regional Prisons Commander, disclosed that a total of 828 people, including 15 females were in the Ho, Kpando and Kete Krachi prisons.

Ho prisons have 330 inmates instead of 150 inmates, resulting in congestion in the cells.

This is made up of 227 convicts, 81 on remand, 21 on trial, with one sentenced to life imprisonment.”

Mr Agambire, said that “due to lack of accommodation in the prisons, inmates are unable to be classified” and described the situation as worrying.

He added “the cell allocation for remand prisoners are full so they have to mix up with the others.”

When contacted, an official of the Prisons Service in Accra said they were not aware of such a skin disease in the prison.

On the provision of soap for bathing, he said the Ghana Prison Service had a procurement system on that, saying, “I cannot comment on that for now.”