The Church of Pentecost (COP) is to construct modern prison facilities in the Eastern, Volta, Western and Ashanti regions as part of its project to help address overcrowding in the country’s prisons.
Currently, the prison population is 15,000 being accommodated in facilities initially meant to house 9,000 inmates.
The Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS), Superintendent Vitalis Aiyeh, told the Ghanaian Times in Accra last Tuesday, stating that the initiative, the church’s vision for 2020 to 2023, was to support the service.
He said the facilities to be constructed would include a 150-capacity camp building in Nsawam, Eastern Region, Kpando in Volta Region, Hiawa in Western Region, Ejura and Obuasi in Ashanti Region.
The COP’s projects, expected to be completed in five years, would contain cells which will accommodate 50 inmates in each, an administration block, church auditorium, water closet toilets, baths, kitchen with corn mill areas, stores and football pitches.
Supt Aiyeh said the Ejura project was almost at roofing level, and that of Nsawam just started a month ago.
He said the church had already supported a number of security agencies, including Prison Service over the years.
The Prisons’ Chief PRO said it was crucial to ease congestion in the prisons, since it was currently overcrowded, which has its own health implications.
Supt Aiyeh said when the projects were completed, it would provide employment skills, which includes learning the skills of farming, where inmates will produce food to feed themselves.
“Workshops would be attached to the prisons with the provision of various skills to enable the prisoners feed themselves,” he said, adding that, to win the hearts of the inmates to God, a chapel would be attached to each facility for the worship of God.
The PRO appealed to other churches and organisations to emulate the COP’s initiative and support the project by adopting cells at the country’s prisons to help them achieve their goals.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI AND AGNES OPOKU SARPONG