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Inmates of Navrongo Central Prisons complain of overcrowding and lack of decent toilet facility

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The Navrongo Central Prisons in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region has forcibly accommodated more inmates causing overcrowding.
The facility is overstretched as it accommodates over 240 inmates, with a cell housing 80 inmates which is against the international standard of a cell housing at most four inmates.
This came to light when the Women’s Ministry of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Bolgatanga donated food items to the Navrongo Central Prisons. The items include gari, rice, yam, cooking oil, pepper, bread, fish and beans.
Receiving the items on behalf of the inmates, DSP Francis Deku, who is in charge of Operations and Religious Affairs of the Navrongo Central Prisons said due to the increasing number of inmates and the overcrowded nature of the facility, the inmates are not well attended to due to inadequate resources.
He indicated that the government over the years had been doing its best possible in ensuring that the facility and indeed the prison service across the country are supplied with adequate medical resources for inmates but the increasing rate of crime creates a deficit.
The congestion in Ghana’s prisons leaves much to be desired.
The Prisons Service is currently housing close to 15,000 inmates as opposed to the intended capacity of 9,000; a situation that accounts for the overcrowding in the various prisons.
The feeding rate for every Ghanaian prisoner is GH¢1.80p each day, translating into 60 pesewas per meal per prisoner. Undoubtedly, this ration is woefully inadequate to provide quality meals for prison inmates.
It can, therefore, be said that the quality of meals served prisoners is impoverished or below standard. Sometimes it is amazing that meals are even served.
Most inmates experience a deep sense of rejection while in prison. Studies have shown that in the first few days, weeks and sometimes months of incarceration, relatives and friends of inmates’ troop in with goodwill and goodies.
But these visits soon become rare and ultimately cease within a couple of weeks. DSP Deku noted that overcrowding affects the quality of life of prisoners and accounts for inhumane conditions in Ghana’s prisons.
Notable among the challenges are the spread of communicable and airborne diseases among the densely packed inmates and poor ventilation.
 
DSP Deku noted that the high levels of social stigmatization as well as the unwillingness of some families and parents to reintegrate their members back into the family after their release from prison also contribute to the high rate of crime.
He said when a convict is released from prison and finds it impossible to relate and integrate into society, they mostly involve themselves in the very acts that took them to prison, with the belief that they would be better off in the prison.
DSP Deku said incarceration has the tendency to subdue one to adjust to a lifestyle that you are not used to and many have had to suffer a few withdrawal symptoms.
He emphasized that incarceration can render an inmate economically redundant for the period spent in prison. Furthermore, long prison sentences have the tendency of corrupting any previous skills learned.
He stated that society must realize that not all prisoners are criminals. Indeed, many later have been proven innocent or wrongly implicated in crimes they knew nothing of.
DSP Deku said there are quite a number of cases where some inmates were convicted simply because they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And in most of these cases, there had been improper representation in court.
DSP Deku appealed to benevolent organizations, religious bodies and government to help with working materials order to equip inmates with requisite skills to enable them fit into the job market when they are released from prison.
The Bolgatanga Seventh-Day Adventist Church Women’s Ministry Director, Felicia Baafi, appealed to parents, chiefs, elders, opinion leaders and religious leaders to be concerned about and interested in the day-to-day activities of their children and subjects, providing the right parental care, guidance and control.
She admonished institutions, schools and organizations to incorporate education on basic laws in their operations and curricula.
Mrs. Baafi pledged her outfit’s readiness to support the inmates of the Navrongo Central Prisons both physically and spiritually.

Story by GBC’s Samuel Ayammah

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