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CCF boss pushes for a national dialogue on prison reform

CCF boss pushes for a national dialogue on prison reform

The Ambassador Extraordinaire of Ghana’s Prisons, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng has called for a national conference to dialogue on prisons reform to curtail human rights abuses and increased crime rates.

He indicated that successive governments’ low commitment to prisons development has contributed to the defeat of the reformation and rehabilitation agenda of the prisons service.

Mr. Kwarteng was speaking during a discussion on Kingdom FM in Accra on the conditions of prisons in Ghana.

He said a discourse on improving the conditions in prisons is necessary because of Ghana’s designation as the beacon of democracy and human rights.

Mr. Kwarteng who is also the Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation (CCF) charged the media to lead the crusade to compel stakeholders in the criminal justice chain to address interventions to improve the country’s prisons system as successive governments have not been proactive in that regard especially with the passage of the Non-Custodial law.

He said CCF with its programmes such as the Petty Offenders project has facilitated the release of over two thousand petty offenders to help decongest the prisons.

“Our prisons are congested and managed under deplorable conditions. This defeats its aim of reformation and rehabilitation. Governments have relented on efforts to invest in the prisons with only One Ghana cedis eighty pesewas (Ghc 1.80p) for an inmate as feeding grant. This is terrible. Prison Officers usually have to foot the bill of sick inmates,” he bemoaned.

He added, “Let’s have a national conference to discuss how best we can reform the prisons and I want to charge the media to lead the campaign. Because of the absence of a Non-custodial law, petty offenders who share the same cell with hardened criminals also come out hardened.”

Another concern Mr. Kwarteng raised was the issue of recidivists saying that such individuals go back to prison because society does not embrace them, hence their re-integration becomes difficult.

This he said contributes to increasing crime rates and the situation must be tackled.

He also advised the public to shun crime so as not to end up in prison.

“I want to urge the general public to welcome ex-convicts but not to stigmatize them. If we neglect them, they will go back to committing crime and go back to the prison where they feel they are welcomed. The prison is not a good place to be so if you are engaging in crime, put a stop to it,” he advised.

Mr. Kwarteng said the Foundation’s ‘STAY AWAY FROM TROUBLE’ programme has been effective in cautioning the public of the consequences of crime thereby helping to reduce the menace.

By: Rudolph Nandi

Email: rudnankp4@gmail.com

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