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Ghana Prisons Service Calls for Increased Feeding Grants

Dire Need for Nutritious Meals Amid Economic Hardship

by Adenike Adeodun

The Ghana Prisons Service has issued a pressing call for an increase in the daily feeding grant allocated for prisoners, citing the current GH¢1.80 per inmate as grossly insufficient in light of the country’s economic challenges and soaring food prices. This plea for financial upliftment aims to ensure that inmates receive balanced and nutritious meals, crucial for their health and well-being.

The appeal was made by the Assistant Director of Prison in charge of the Akuse Local Prisons, ADP Ousmane Tasembedo, during a charitable event organized by the Customs Ladies Club—a group consisting of female employees from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the Tema Collection. The club generously donated a variety of food and non-food items to the Akuse Local Prison as part of their Easter celebrations, offering a temporary reprieve to the facility’s ongoing struggles.

Despite the significant contribution, ADP Tasembedo highlighted the dire conditions within the Akuse Local Prison, notably its severe congestion issues. Originally designed to house 60 male inmates, the facility now accommodates 250 men and an additional 16 female inmates, pushing its capacity to the brink and underscoring the urgent need for expansion and improved living conditions.

Recognizing the limitations of government support alone, ADP Tasembedo called upon individuals, organizations, and religious groups to lend their aid, emphasizing the crucial difference such external assistance can make in alleviating the prison’s hardships.

In an effort to partially address the feeding challenge, the Akuse prison authorities have initiated agricultural projects, leveraging the area’s farming potential to produce rice and vegetables. This initiative has yielded significant harvests, contributing not only to the inmates’ diet but also supporting other prison facilities across the country through redistribution of the produce.

ADP Joyce Annor-Owusu, in charge of the female section, reiterated the difficulties posed by rising food prices, which hamper the prison’s ability to procure adequate food supplies. She expressed gratitude towards the Tema Customs Ladies and other philanthropic entities whose contributions have been vital in bridging the gap. Moreover, Annor-Owusu shed light on the various skill training programs available to inmates, such as bakery, farming, and tailoring, which are instrumental in equipping them with the tools necessary for a productive reintegration into society post-release.

In addition to food and training support, there is an appeal for further assistance, such as the provision of submersible pumps for the existing borehole at the facility, to enhance the water supply for inmates.

The gesture by the Customs Ladies Club, led by President Rachael Jacintha Pyne, not only brought momentary joy to the inmates during the Easter festivities but also served as a reminder of the broader societal responsibility towards those incarcerated. Pyne encouraged the inmates to remain hopeful and to seize the opportunity to learn new skills, ultimately aiding their successful reentry into society.

This situation at the Akuse Local Prison reflects the broader challenges faced by correctional facilities in Ghana, where resource constraints significantly impede the ability to provide adequate care and rehabilitation for inmates. It underscores the critical need for a collaborative effort between the government, private sector, and philanthropic organizations to address the multifaceted issues of prison overcrowding, inadequate nutrition, and the essential rehabilitation and skill development of inmates, ensuring their dignity and preparing them for a constructive life post-incarceration.

Source: Graphic Online

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