By Emmanuel Agyemfra Boateng
Dear Rev Stephen Wengam,
Let me first of all commend you for your passion to get our correctional facilities get a face lift through the most applauded intervention, Project ‘Efiase’. This will go a long way to help speed up the reformation and rehabilitation process of inmates we are all looking for.
Your 10 year- Strategic Development Plan for the Ghana Prisons Service which is a very good initiative needs not only the government but the private sector to make it a reality.
I read on your website the numerous interventions government has rolled out to ease the pressure on both inmates and Officers. But as Oliver Twist, let’s always ask for more not always from the government but from private people too.
Thanks to my senior colleague Seth Kwame Boateng of Joy Fm, who in his heart piercing documentary, LOCKED AND FORGOTTEN told us stories that brought the whole nation to a standstill! When his documentary showed how deteriorating and disgusting life in our Prisons was like.
Rev. kindly permit me to suggest to your able council some of the ways I think we all can do to help the Project ‘Efiase’ become a reality and move from the talks to more action.
First of all on Welfare; currently each inmate leaves on Ghp1.80 a day which to me is very dehumanizing and doesn’t motivate someone to be reformed. To help reform an inmate the food they take shouldn’t be like that of the Nazi camp’s Sorbibor.
Thank God the Ghana Prisons Service has Farms in most of their facilities. These Farms should be boosted to help feed the large numbers in our Prisons.
Prisons Farms at Brong Ahafo Kenyasi No 1, Adansi Ayaase, Forifori, Wa and other settlement camps can be feeding the inmates nationwide with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Fisheries respectively.
This will go a long to ease the herculean budget on food which is draining the Prisons service of its entire meager budget from the Government.
The Agric department of the Prisons Service should be well equipped to be able to make this ‘Operation Feed Your Self’ a reality.
The recent water shortage that hit the country didn’t spare the Ghana Prisons Service, especially the Nsawam Prisons, where Citi FM’s Pearl Akanyi Ofori reported how inmates were allowed to go out of the confines of the Prison yard to search for water without Prison Officers’ escort!
Not even the Prison Officers at the Barracks were left out of the mad search for water because most of the boreholes within the barracks were all broken down same was those at the prison yard itself.
Rev. Wengam, I humbly suggest the Prisons Council liaise with private borehole operators to dig for them mechanized boreholes in the yards and at the Barracks’ to improve the water situations.
Project Efiase should be sold out to cooperate entities in various Regional capitals and Districts so they also channel part of their Cooperate Social Responsibility funds to the betterment of this laudable intervention.
I was very happy when I read the Council is has proposed to the government for the need of a Prisons Hospital that will come solve most of the health related cases being battled by the Prisons Service.
Also, I humbly urge you to make us feel the impact of your meetings with High Commissioners and Ambassadors on the role they can also play in making Project Efiase a success.
Sir, let me quote a senior officer’s write up on how the Project ‘Efiase’ can be sustained and supported by the public.
“If Prisoners complete their sentences unreformed, society will invariably suffer the consequences one way or the other”, ASP James Annan (Head of Publications, Prisons Headquarters)
Furthermore, the documentary made by Seth Kwame Boateng of Joy Fm showed the whole nation how congested our Prisons facilities with visuals that will make someone cry the heart out.
I suggest the Prisons Service Council meet the leaders of the Ghana Real Estates Developers Association, Building materials sellers Association, Sand and Stones quarrying to help in enlarging the various 43 Prison stations nationwide.
We need to get more spacious cubicles for inmates to reduce communicable diseases and others.
Rev. I believe you will agree with me that, the Ghana Prisons system is yet to reach a full correctional system for that matter making it difficult to really reform or rehabilitate prisoners.
ASP James Annan mentioned in his article, ‘Project Efiase: A Catalyst For Prison Reforms’ highlighted the need for alternative imprisonment in the country.
This to me will go a long to ease the unbearable congestion in our Prison stations. The Constitution should be amended to inculcate alternatives like; Probation, community service or Fines which will go a long way to decongest our prison stations drastically.
First time offenders shouldn’t be put in jail but allowed to serve any other imprisonment aside jail.
Going forward, the rate at which you and your Council members are turning things around within this short period of time shows how passionate you are to improve the Prison system.
Sir, I know you have approached several media houses but to increase donations both in kind and in cash, the Council should make it a point to be on some prime morning shows in the country, both TV and radio to sell the project.
Adom TV’s Badwam, UTV’s Anopa Bosuo, Peace FM’s Kokroko, Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem. Others like Citi Break Fast Show, Joy FM Super Morning Show and a host of others that have nationwide coverage will make the Public understand much about the Project Efiase
Bloggers and News websites shouldn’t be left out, in this 21st century era where technology cannot be ruled out, the activeness of your Facebook and twitter accounts should be increased to make the public ,diplomats and cooperate bodies see the seriousness in what you are fighting for.
Well known personalities who jhave served in any of the Prison stations across the country should be brought back to organize fund raising concerts for the benefits of the inmates.
People like Kwaw Kesse, and others shouldn’t always be seen during Valentine’s Day and yuletides but they should be part of the rehabilitation process.
The Project Efiase team should also get a short code from the Telecommunication operators where everybody can donate at least Ghc2.00 for the project.
“Help transform our neglected potential into reformatory force for good” Project Efiase
Emmanuel Agyemfra Boateng
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