There are too many inmates in Ghana’s jails; 4,972 more individuals are kept there than the facility can really accommodate, resulting in a congestion rate of almost 48%.
On July 5, 2023, there were 15,237 prisoners housed at the facility, 15,062 of them were men and 175 women.
Chief Superintendent of Prisons (CP) Vitalis Ayeh, the Ghana Prisons Service’s (GPS) head of public relations, revealed this information to the Accra-based Ghanaian Times and asked that the country’s jail facilities be expanded. The overcrowding, in his opinion, was having a bad effect on the health and standard of living of the prisoners.
He argued that a national prison hospital would be extremely beneficial in providing care for the more than 15,000 prisoners housed in the nation’s prisons.
He said that because there was no dedicated facility for attending to the medical requirements of inmates, they were frequently at the mercy of the general public, which led to stigmatisation and exposed the police to security threats.
Despite the fact that jails have infirmaries, Mr. Ayeh said that these facilities couldn’t handle significant medical situations and that sick inmates had to be sent to public hospitals for treatment.
“In light of this, the service is making a special appeal to the government to grant it a hospital facility to meet the medical needs of detainees, officers, and their immediate families,” he said.
He claims that by doing this, the more than 15,000 convicts who would require urgent medical treatment while serving their sentences may be treated more quickly.
According to the PRO, there were more prisoners on remand between January and June of this year than there were at the same time last year (3,740 in total).
He stated, “To guarantee that remand cases in the prisons are processed quickly, the prisons have taken procedures like case tracking technology and the formation of courts inside the jails.
He claims that from January to June of this year, there were more prisoners jailed on remand in the nation than there were during the same time last year (3,740 vs. 3,314 overall).
Chief Supt. Ayeh mentioned murder, defilement fraud, unauthorised entry, murder, and rape as among the acts committed by the inmates.
He pleaded with the stakeholders to cooperate with the service to help them in their operations and identified transportation, feeding, and congestion as the agency’s major problems.
Additionally, Mr. Ayeh encouraged the administration to increase the convicts’ food allowance, noting that they had been getting GH 1.80 for three square meals daily since 2010.
Chief Supt. Ayeh claims that the Prison Service encourages the cultivation of crops including maize, cocoa, palm, vegetables, and others in order to provide food for prisoners.
He informed the public that the Prisons Service is steadfast in its pursuit of ensuring the safe custody of individuals who have been found guilty, their reformation, and rehabilitation for their successful reintegration into society.
Chief Supt. Ayeh asserted that plans to buy property in the Western North and Ashanti Regions were well under way as part of efforts to ease overcrowding and join the agriculture sector at the nation’s jails.
Chief Supt. Ayeh begged people to avoid stigmatising ex-offenders so that they can reintegrate into society.
He said that the inmates received instruction in a variety of trades, including electronics, masonry, carpentry, and more.
“Among other things, the service teaches them skills at the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI), and inmates have also taken and passed the Basic Education Certificate Examination,” he added.
In his examination of the impact, he brought out how COVID-19 damaged their Internally Generated Fund’s service.
We kept producing agricultural products, and with assistance from the government and other stakeholders who provided us with tractors, we were able to increase output to augment feeding, the official claimed.