The Ghana Prisons Service is pushing for the creation of a separate ministry to take care of the Service and also tackle challenges confronting prisoners.
The Prisons Service is currently under the Ministry of the Interior.
The call for a separate ministry for the Prisons Services comes in the wake of problems facing convicts and remand inmates in Ghana’s prisons.
Overcrowding and congestion are critical issues in the prisons, and sometimes remand inmates spend longer periods in incarceration than even their colleagues who have been sentenced to serve terms.
According to the Prisons Service, the annual budget being allocated to the Ministry of the Interior is inadequate to cater for the many agencies under it.
Speaking to Class News, Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Prisons Service, Superintendent Vitalis Aryee, said: “It’s not out of place because when you look at the Ministry of the Interior, which we fall under, we have other agencies – close to 13 – and the budget that comes is apportioned and mostly because we are kind of confined, we get the least of it, so, if there is a separate ministry to handle prison issues [it will be appropriate].”
Mr Aryee justified that the call for a separate ministry saying: “With us as an entire constituency, we are huge. We are dealing with human beings that are not free to go about their normal duties, we are dealing with human beings that are constrained and these are people who need to come back to the society better than they went in. If we don’t change their status, their mood, their state, their character and they come back, it reflects on Ghana. Crime will rise, our safety will be compromised and so much will go wrong. We won’t be an attractive destination for investors, we won’t be a country people will like to visit.”