Josephine Freduah Agyemang, Deputy Director of the Ghana Prisons Service says inmates in Ghana’s prisons are very much informed and sensitized about the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ever since Ghana recorded its first case of COVID-19, there has been a lot of discussions on the various categories of the Ghanaian population who are at higher risk of the impact of the virus.
One of the categories singled out is the prison population which according statistics is over 50% overpopulated.
Speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb, the Prisons Deputy Director said the administrative management of the various prisons across the country are keeping inmates informed and sensitized about the pandemic.
“We have sent instructions to the commanders of the various prison establishments and the OICs. They are doing a lot of sensitization. Day in day out things are changing, we have realized that there is more news and more information. So at the OICs we have our District PRs and Regional PRs, they are all there and whatever we issued to them they also made sure that the inmates get to hear. So even the inmates will know more about this COVID-19.”
Madam Freduah said beyond the sensitization, the service is also managing its problem of overcrowding to make sure inmates are protected from the spread of the virus.
“The issue of overcrowding is real. What we’ve been doing is that we transfer inmates from the overcrowded prisons. We periodically do that, we transfer them to the least populated prisons and other local prisons. We have this justice for all where the courts sit in the prisons so that the judges give some of them bail. So by doing that we are able to handle the overcrowding in the prisons.”
She added that as part of safety measures to protect inmates against COVID-19, the service has made new arrangements to check the spread of the virus within the nation's prisons.
“Now we have stopped inmates from going out on outdoor labour. We have also put in place some the Veronica Buckets everywhere, we have issued instructions to our prisons to observe handwashing.”
She, however, appealed to institutions and the general public to come to the aid of the service by providing more logistics needed to protect inmates and officers against the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the recommendations of the Prisons Service granted amnesty to 808 inmates across the country.
The number covered 783 first time offenders, 11 seriously ill persons, 7 death row inmates who will be commuted to life imprisonment and 4 inmates serving a life sentence who will have their sentence commuted to 20 years definite term.
The list also included 3 very old prisoners who are above 70 years of age.
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