The sad story of prisoners in Ghana was brought to the fore as a former director of the Ghana Prisons Service Dr Richard Kuuire revealed that each prisoner was under a GHS1.80 per head feeding grant.
He indicated that such an amount is a reflection of the poor treatment meted out on prisoners in the country.
Speaking during the launch of his book “Transformation of Prisons systems in Africa,” Mr Kuuire among other things recommended that Ghana Prisons Service be changed to a correctional service to ensure that prisoners are transformed and properly integrated into society after serving their sentence.
“You can imagine a little child, spending GHS1.80, what will it buy. It cannot even buy one ball of kenkey and prison authorities are expected to provide three square meals with GHS1.80. You must be a magician to be able to do that. I think we need to change from prison service to correctional service because correctional service tries to point to reforms and rehabilitation for the person,” he said.
Ghana’s prison system has been faced with a myriad of challenges. Besides the issue of inadequate feeding grants, lack of space in their facilities where the little resources are overstretched causes congestion.
Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in 2021 pledged the government’s commitment to decongest the prisons by implementing other forms of sentences.
While addressing the 13 members of the newly-inaugurated 8th Governing Council of the Ghana Prison Service, on Tuesday, Dr Bawumia pointed out that implementing other forms of sentences will ensure that persons who are sentenced to serve jail terms are truly reformed.
“With the rise in population as contained in the provisional results of the 2021 Population and Housing Census and the increasing trend of crime, some predict that overcrowding in the prisons will worsen and that will compromise healthy standards of our prisons. To address this age-old problem, the government remains focused on spearheading the introduction of non-custodial sentences as alternatives; and the expansion of existing prison infrastructure,” he said.