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Prisoners angry over ‘dumsor’

Angry inmates of the Koforidua Prison are calling on the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to exempt the facility from the current load shedding exercise popularly known as ‘dumsor’.

According to the inmates, the erratic power supply is a major security threat to them and the officers in charge of the prison.

The leader of the inmates at the Koforidua Prison, Peter Latif, told the Daily Heritage in an interview that the prison lacks standby generators to restore power whenever there are lights out, exposing the over 600 inmates to danger in the event of a scuffle or attempted jail break.

“My brother, it is disheartening that with the type of characters here, we are not spared when it comes to dumsor, we also sleep in darkness; but the fact is that, it is a security threat –people may not know until something unpleasant happens here, so we are appealing to the ECG to isolate us from the load shedding.”

He also called on the government to increase the feeding grants of prison inmates which is currently pegged at GH¢1.80 daily per head.

He said the amount is inadequate; hence, prison officers are unable to provide relatively sufficient food for the inmates, resulting in hunger and malnutrition.

Mr Latif also urged government to institute various training programs for the inmates to ensure that they acquire the requisite skills to meet demands on the job market and be either self-employed or employable after serving their sentences.

Other prisoners who spoke to the paper expressed rage at the rate of power cuts in the prison and also expressed fear that something untoward could happen when there is darkness at the facility.

The interviews were granted on the sidelines of a ceremony to commission an ultra-modern bathroom facility at the Koforidua Prison, as well as the unveiling of a complete rehabilitated prison facility which was executed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Chocho Industries, Alhaji Dr Mustapha Boateng, at a total cost of GH¢30,000.00.

The deputy Eastern regional minister, Mavis Ama Frimpong, speaking at the programme, made a passionate appeal to employers to absorb qualified ex-convicts into the job market to enable them earn income for a living.

According to the deputy minister, ex-convicts should not be alienated in their quest to secure jobs since such hostile environments may create a state of hopelessness that may compel ex-convicts to re-engage in criminal acts.

She stated that the “Afiase Project” introduced by the government seeks to improve conditions at prisons and the welfare of prison inmates which includes offering skills training to prisoners so that they could be self-employed and employable as part of their reformation programme.

She hinted that the regional coordinating council in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service will soon introduce reading classes at the Koforidua Prisons to equip inmates with reading skills.

Source: Daily Heritage

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