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12.07.2002 General News

Nsawam female prison to get unit for nursing mothers

By gna
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Mr Richard Kuuire, Director-General of the Ghana Prisons Service, on Thursday announced plans to construct special unit at the Nsawam Female Prison to cater for pregnant female inmates and nursing mothers. Mr Kuuire announced this during a presentation of items worth 8.9 million cedis to the Prisons by the Ghana National Trust Fund (GNTF) for the upkeep of mothers and children in prison. The items included one mattress, towels, beverages, Napkins and baby toiletries.

The Director General said the plans for the construction were worked out to ensure that children were not exposed to life in the prisons. He said the problem of pregnant women, nursing mothers and children in prison was perennial and had been a headache to the Prisons Authorities.

Mr Kuuire said the permanent solution to the problem was for the courts to consider the imposition of non-custodial sentences such as suspended sentences bonds 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 pregnant women, mothers and especially children in our custody, we also do not have appropriate budgetary cover for children in our annual estimates," he noted.

Mr Kuuire said at the moment there were six children in the various prisons nationwide and as a service they found it unsatisfactory for children to start life in prison through no fault of theirs. "In our small way, we however, ensure that mothers do not deliver in prison but in public hospitals and all documents relating to the birth of the child do not bear the name of any prison, but the hospital or the health facility where the child was born," the Director General pointed out.

Mr Mike Ezan, Chairman of the GNTF, who presented the items, said even though the aim of the Fund was to assist the disadvantaged and the handicapped in society, it was now focusing on mothers and infants in prisons.

He said the trust would work closely with the Prisons Service to ensure that the imprisoned mothers have adequate training to meet the challenges of life when discharged, adding that the children's welfare would also be monitored and supported. Mr Ezan used the occasion to donate five million cedis to the Volta School for the deaf to supplement the feeding cost of the pupils for this term.

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