The Director-General (DG) of the Ghana Prisons Service, Isaac Kofi Egyir has raised concerns about overcrowding in the country’s prisons as the service has recorded inmates in excess of Fourteen Thousand and Ninety-Seven.
He said congestion remained a challenge to the Service as a large number of inmates compete for limited resources daily.
Mr. Egyir said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Legal Officer of the Service Gloria Essandoh at a day’s training programme for court reporters in Accra.
The DG called for the support of all stakeholders as the Service is taking measures to reduce congestion and improve prison conditions.
In a bid to address the challenge, the Prison Chief mentioned the construction of a two hundred and forty (240) capacity camp prison at Ejura in the Ashanti region by the Church of Pentecost and the construction of three other camps in Nsawam, Obuasi, and Damango.
He lauded the Judicial Service led Justice for All Programme, which had led to a reduction in the numbers in some prisons.
Mr. Egyir said the rate of overcrowding had reduced from 72.41 percent in 2007 to 35.11 percent as of September 2021 and attributed the reduction to activities of the Justice for All Programme.
The DG recounted that the Justice for all Programme had led to the admission of 1,563 persons to bail, while 180 persons had been convicted, and 28 persons were referred to the Psychiatric Hospital among others.
He said the Service was also developing a health policy to strengthen healthcare to ensure optimum health for both inmates and officers.
On education, the Ghana Prisons Boss, said in the year 2018, a total of 420 inmates made up of 349 prisoners and 71 juveniles had been enrolled in formal and informal education.
“In the year 2020, there were 250 adults and 23 juveniles in Senior High School across the country.
“A total of 500 adults and 84 juveniles were in Junior High Schools. Some 34 of them comprising 28 juveniles sat for the Basic Education Certificate Examination and recorded 100 percent pass.”
The Executive Director of the POS Foundation, Jonathan Osei Wusu said the training was to help reporters understand the processes of reporting on Criminal Justice issues.
On the theme: “Understanding the Criminal Justice System of Ghana for Effective Reportage”, the training was under the auspices of POS Foundation, the Judicial Service, and Open Society Initiative for West Africa.