Crime & Punishment Fri, 14 Nov 2008

Drugs And Homosexuality In Ghanaian Prisons

Andy Atta Peprah, a 37-year-old ex-convict, has said homosexuality and drug peddling are common practices in jails.

Speaking on one of the radio stations in Accra Mr. Atta Peprah who served a two-year jail term at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison said “there is something called 'Kpeeh' that is homosexuality, it is very rampant in prisons and it’s serious…you go to jail for two or five years and nobody visits you, what do you do? You have to sell your body.”

He said people who are hungry for sex engage their fellow male inmates in mutual carnal sex and succeed by persuading and stimulating the food of the supposed feminine. Mr. Atta Peprah said because prisoners don’t work to earn a living, most of them value any little money that comes their way. He said “500 (old Ghanaian cedis) is big money in prison…You can bribe somebody with 500 cedis to kill somebody for you.” He said “All these things happen under the watch of prison wardens who appear helpless, because they themselves have lots of personal problems to manage.” Mr. Atta Peprah said drug business is booming where he served his jail term. He explained that daring prisoners who go out with officers for manual work do sneak out, buy drugs, especially marijuana, wrap and stick them in their anus; the only convenient way they can smuggle them into the cells.


He said “they are searched at the gate and if they are not arrested, when they get into the yard they sell a stick of the wrap for 4,000 old Ghana cedis and people scramble to buy it…few of the prisoners may not engage in this ignoble act.” He said “woe betides whoever dares to report a fellow inmate.” When the Accra Daily Mail (ADM) put the issues raised to Ms. Anna Bossman, the Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), she said prisoners should have conjugal rights. “Yes, although it is a controversial issue… we believe that as it is in consonance with other jurisdictions, the prisoners do have conjugal rights.” She said, “even though they have a right and we believe they do have that right, but can the facilities we have now afford them the possibility of exercising that right ?. The answer is no”.

Ms. Bossman said “homosexuality has nothing really to do with conjugal rights…suppose we were in other jurisdictions where the prisoners have conjugal rights, that does not take away the fact that there may be homosexual relations within the prisons, that doesn’t stop it.” She said plans are underway to address the challenges conjugal rights pose on the rights of inmates.

Source: ADM