In the documentary, senior Broadcast Journalist Joojo Cobbinah , interviewed an 18 year old lady who was serving 5 years in one of the Prison stations in Ghana for allegedly stealing GHC740.00 from his boss, whom he used to work for us a Voucher card sales girl.
In a very sad documentary, where Joojo was looking at some of the reasons why our Prisons stations are congested and what could be done to avert the dehumanizing situation at hand.
The mother of one, explained to the journalist why he was at the Female Prison serving 5 years and I was shocked to the bone.
“When the money was stolen, I was taken to the police station and was asked to pay GHC2,000.00 before they release me but my family said they can’t afford it so I was processed for court; when we were going, a Police Officer asked me tell the judge that ‘I AM GUILTY’ but I didn’t know what that meant. So when the Judge asked whether I was guilty or not, I said, I was guilty but I will explain and the jufge quickly told me, I can’t say anything again because I have already admitted to the crime and sentenced me to 5 years in hard labour to come back and repay the money”, she stated.
This is how ignorant our poor sister was to the phrase I AM GUILTY. Let’s imagine the number of such young people or older who are in jail for been led by the Police prosecutor to say ‘I AM GUILTY’ but later ends up in jail.
Our poor sister isn’t the only one facing such predicament of not knowing what to say in court or not having a Lawyer.
Many young people are in our Prisons because they were misled by the Prosecutors or Lawyers into believing that, if they say they were guilty, the Judge might forgive them a lean sentence or free them.
First time offenders or minor crime offenders as theft and assault in my view shouldn’t be given custodial sentences as imprisonment. They should rather be given non-custodial one which will make the culprit pay a Fine or does a free community work under supervision of the Ghana Prisons service.
Statistics from the Ghana Prisons Service.
- The Current Data Summary on the Ghana Prisons Service official website indicates that, Authorized number of inmates which they are supposed to in their confinement is 9,875 but currently they have a little over 14,368 inmates.
Overcrowding in percentage wise is 45.50% which is putting unnecessary burden on logistics of the Prisons Service.
- Under the age distribution of convicted prisoners admitted in 2014, we have young and energetic men and women ranging from 18-25 years topping the chart with 3,201 being first offenders which is 41.52%.
The statics will make you go silent for a while and ask yourself why we are losing our chunk of our youth to the Prisons
With this kind of Data, it is now very difficult for the Prisons service to to do their core functions of Safe Custody of Prisoners, Welfare of Prisoners and Reformation and Rehabilitation.
Thank God the Ghana Prisons Service Council led by Rev. Dr. Stephen Wengham has initiated an intervention program that will see to it that our Prisons are decongested and conditions improved for both inmates and Officers.
Project Efiase will need Funds to operate smoothly because the Government alone cannot take the burden. They therefore call on individuals, corporate bodies, Civil society groups to come support the Project to make it a success.
The Project Efiase can be supported in cash or in kind via these Bank Accounts;
Ecobank Gh. Ltd, Ridge Road- Acc No: 0010084415563401.
Royal Branch, Castle Road- Acc No:02103112745617
Unibank Gh Ltd, World Trade Center- Acc No.:0210312745617
You can also donate GHC1.00 to PE 9050 on MTN
Let’s all come together to help the Ghana Prisons service, which is becoming a den for notoriety instead of reformation.