Crime Check Foundation has released five inmates of the Sekondi Local Prison. The inmates were imprisoned due to their inability to pay court fines imposed on them, after the courts found them guilty of committing petty offences.
The inmates Enoch Baidoo, Ransford Agbeko, Kelvin Maduako, Eric Ezoah Abizi and Francis Kaku were charged with offenses including stealing of coconut and illegal mining. They were asked to pay fines ranging from six hundred to one thousand, eight hundred Ghana cedis or in default serve jail terms from six to twelve months.
When crimecheckghana engaged the inmates in an interview, they revealed that life in prison is very difficult and they wish they will be granted their freedom. “I feel sad when I am asked to sleep as early as five thirty in the evening. Even goats do not sleep at that time. The hot atmosphere in the room does not allow us to sleep early even though we are locked in there”. Enoch said.
Another inmate said the food they are fed with is not healthy. “Anytime I eat the food given to us in the yard, I experience stomach ache and bloating”. Ransford said.
According to the Officer in charge of Operations of the prison, Alhassan, the deplorable state of Ghana’s prisons is as a result of overcrowding of inmates and not as a form of punishment as perceived by the public. The Sekondi Central Prison he said was built to accommodate two hundred and fifty inmates but the facility is currently housing over six hundred inmates.
The officer said the feeding rate for each prisoner is one cedi, eighty pesewas a day. “This money is not enough to feed the inmates so the facility is doing its best to cater for the prisoners”. He said.
A donor of CCF’s Petty Offenders Project, Dada Boat who is the CEO of Sarah Foods and Trading Company Limited in Tema, Ghana has facilitated the payment of their fines and release of the five inmates.
Beneficiaries of the kind gesture could not hide their joy as they showed appreciation to the donor. “Dada Boat, God richly bless you”. They said.
Executive Director of CCF, Mr. Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng made an appeal to government to provide jobs for the youth to avoid their involvement in criminal activities.