Source: GNA - President John Dramani Mahama on Friday announced that government would in the coming days make it a priority to improve prison facilities across the country.
The improvement, he said would include; expansion of prisons accommodation facilities to decongest the facilities and assign a tertiary institution to establish distance learning courses to absorb Senior High School students, who had completed with higher grades but were still serving their sentences.
President Mahama announced this when he visited the Nsawam Medium Prisons in fulfillment of his promise in April to visit some prisons facilities at the invitation of the Ghana Prisons Service Council.
The programme was also attended by the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, Mrs Matilda Baffour-Awuah, the Director General of the Prisons service, Reverend Pastor Stephen Wengham, the Chairman of the Prisons Council and Mr Sylvester Kojo Rhabbles, the Eastern Regional Commander of the service among other dignitaries.
On April 1, this year, members of the Prisons Council invited President Mahama to visit some facilities to acquaint himself with the plight of the prisons, which he obliged to undertake.
The President, who is the first sitting President to visit the facility said 'today is an eye opener for me...and we need to take action immediately to make them more comfortable as citizens of Ghana.'
President Mahama said his visit revealed that the prisons were really congested and steps would immediately be taken to ameliorate their plight at the various facilities.
"One of my lessons I learnt here is that the Nsawam facility that was supposed to accommodate 851 prisoners now take in 3,513 inmates, which is creating uncomfortable conditions for them."
He said the launch of the 'Efiase' project would enable government to seek funding from both government and private sector to improve facilities and services in the facilities.
The President urged the Director General of the Service to present a proposal for remission of sentences for inmates, who had demonstrated good behavior, the aged and the sick in various centres.
Mrs Wood gave the assurance that they would establish a court at Nsawam to cater for reviewed cases to reduce the daily burden of carrying the suspects to Accra for trial.
She said her outfit was conscientizing Judges and Magistrates to mete out appropriate sentences and other punitive measures to culprits in conformity with international standards.
She cautioned the free inmates to become reformatory Ambassadors in their society to avoid going back into prisons.
Mr Dwamena Yankson leader of the Nsawam inmates, on behalf of his colleagues, commended government for the sustained payment of food contractors that provide their ration and appealed to the President to increase the daily feeding fees from the current GH? 1.80 pesewas.
He said there was discrimination anytime there was amnesty for the prisons and called on government to carefully examine those considered for amnesty, as some people who had conducted themselves creditably and served numerous years were often left out.
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