A prison inmate, Opoku Afriyie was jailed twelve months at the Kumasi Central Prison for stealing medicine from an over-the-counter medicine shop.
According to Afriyie who has since been released from prison through the support of Crime Check Foundation (CCF) and two of its donors, Mr. and Mrs. Koomson, he had suffered rheumatism, but could not afford the medicine doctors had prescribed for him. As a result, he had to steal the prescribed medicine from a drug store in his neighbourhood.
He said the shop attendant noticed him the first time he stole at the shop, so on his second attempt, he was arrested. “The first time I went to the shop to steal, I had only twenty Ghana Cedis (GHS 20) on me, but the medicine was sixty Ghana Cedis (GHS 60). When the shop attendant had a phone call after she had placed the medicine on the counter, I took it away. However, she noticed me”.
The unemployed young man said, his mother had also been hospitalized, therefore, life was difficult for him. He indicated that he did not wish to engage in the act, but he did not have any option because he was unemployed and ill. Afriyie said though he had asked his mother to pay for his enrollment into mechanic apprenticeship, due to poverty, his mother kept postponing it till she fell ill too.
The Executive Director of CCF, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng admonished him to turn a new leaf when he leaves prison. With support from Mr. and Mrs. Koomson for CCF’s new programme, ‘STAY OUT OF TROUBLE’, the Foundation has paid Afriyie’s fine for his release. Having experienced a little of the appalling prison life, Afriyie was much grateful to the couple and CCF for their support to get him his freedom.
The USAID Justice Sector Support Activity (JSSA)
The JSSA seeks to enhance justice delivery in the country so that persons such as Opoku Afriyie who perpetrate petty offences are given alternative sentences rather than serving jail terms. The JSSA also seeks to reinforce efforts by the US Government to enhance Ghana’s justice delivery system by increasing Citizens’ Oversight and Monitoring of Criminal Cases, increasing citizen knowledge and access to Justice Sector services, and strengthening advocacy for accountability of key justice sector institutions for improved justice delivery in Ghana.