Akufo Addo, why constructing 800-inmate-capacity remand prison alone can’t solve the problem

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Wed, 10 Mar 2021 Source: Joel Savage

Like many African countries, Ghana prisons are also becoming congested but before putting up a project to accommodate these prisoners, the Ghana government must first solve the problems that are rapidly leading to criminal activities in the country leading to incarcerations.

This article is the response to the government’s plan of constructing an 800-inmate-capacity remand prison at Nsawam, which is 60% complete, which appeared in ModernGhana news on 9/3/2021.

According to the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo Addo, the purpose “is to reduce further overcrowding in prisons, as remand prisoners will now be kept separately from the convict population.”

Every country needs development, therefore, it is good for the country if the President finds solutions to these crucial problems. But the fact is convicts serving sentences in correctional institutions or prisons, are people convicted for the second, third, or even the fourth time.

Very often crimes become a consequence of a person's social maladjustment associated with a lack of education and work skills, alcoholism or drug addiction, unemployment, homelessness, and general social disadvantage, as the idiom goes, the devil finds work for the idle hands.

Most of these prisoners were petty thieves, such as stealing goats, sheep, or fowl, yet, some judges give ten years sentence to many of these people involved in such crimes. Meanwhile, many of these judges that pass sentences are the worst criminals than the perpetrators, as they take bribes to pervert justice.

The verdict and punishment given to most prisoners do not change the position of these people, and after serving time, they again commit a crime. These are some of the reasons the government’s plan of building 800-inmate-capacity remand prison is not enough.

Instead of the prison expansion, the NPP government must find a way to reduce crime in the country. This is an important issue the previous administration failed to tackle. Crime can be reduced, thus; the number of criminals put behind bars can be reduced as well but in what way?

Social adaptation is needed by prisoners after release, among other things, to help them become independent again.

The lives of these prisoners can be changed by enrolling them in desirable professions, such as carpentry, mason, tailoring, forklift driving, welding, etc, and this will provide them a new life as well as reducing the crime rate in the country.

The fact that many employers hate employing convicts, the government must design projects that can give them better lives in society. Without doing that Nana Akufo Addo that prison expansion will be meaningless.

Realizing that the return of former prisoners to a law-abiding life is beneficial to the whole society, many countries are doing serious work on their social adaptation.

If Nana Akufo Addo fails to do this, within a few years the crime rate will increase, more criminals will be behind bars, then the NPP government or whichever party in power will again plan to expand the prisons. That will be a waste of finance.

Columnist: Joel Savage