The Winneba Prison Commander, ADP Peter Afari Mintah has admonished the public to be advocates for improved welfare of prison inmates and not to discriminate against them.
According to him, the Service is the most neglected security agency in Ghana though it plays a very important role in the delivery of justice in the country.
Speaking at a sensitisation programme on the bye-laws of the Effutu Municipal Assembly (EMA) for vagrants, under the CCF-OSIWA partnership dubbed Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws And Advocacy (DVLA), ADP Mintah said the prisons should be given the necessary support to enable it carry-out its mandate seamlessly.
The project is aimed at creating an enabling environment for vagrants; consisting of the homeless, street hawkers, head porters, vendors, truck pushers, market women, artisans, other identifiable and vulnerable groups to know, claim and exercise their rights and responsibilities in Ghana.
The Prison Chief blamed the current state of the prisons on the low-value placed on the Prison sector.
He cautioned the public to guard their freedom jealously and desist from engaging in any act that will end them in prison.
“When armed policemen arrest notorious criminals they spend a maximum of 48 hours in their custody but after such people are taken to court and sentenced to 10, 15, 20 years or more, it is the weaponless prisons officers who keep such dangerous criminals until their release but when comes to matters of the prisons very few people talk for better conditions of service for prison officers and for that matter getting state of the art equipment to develop the sector,” the Winneba Prisons Commander lamented.
“The bad perception about prisoners generally and poor infrastructure is making prions management difficult. Even with the GHC1.80 feeding a day per prisoner, realistically, it is around GHC1.10 pesewas as the money is given to contractors who also take their profits from that amount. So if he is supposed to supply food items worth GHC1.80 at the end of the day he will be able to supply about GHC1.10,” ADP Afari Mintah disclosed.
The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), established in 2000, is a grant-making and advocacy organization focused on equality, justice, democratic governance, human rights, and knowledge generation. It is part of the global network of Open Society Foundations spread across 37 countries around the world. He said the Assemblies outrageously fine these vagrants for committing petty offences.
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