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Congestion, lack of logistics affecting running of Nsawam Prisons   
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Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP) Alexander Kweku Ansong-Agyepong in charge of Eastern Region Prisons, on Monday said congestion and lack of logistics continued to be the major challenges confronting the smooth running of the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons.

He said “The continuously swelling number of remand prisoners whose cases are either under investigations or waiting trial is of grave concern to us. Currently four out of the eight housing blocks holds remand prisoners.”

DDP Ansong-Agyepong said though the ideal average capacity of the Prison was 717, it was keeping 2,950 inmates with staff strength of 339 officers and out of the 2,950 inmates 1, 554 were remand prisoners and 82 languishing in condemned cells.

He disclosed this when Mr Emil Short, Commissioner for Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms Anna Bossman as well as other officials of the Commission inspected facilities of the male and female prisons of the Nsawam Prison.

The visit also took the officials to the Prison’s kitchen, condemned cells, remand block, theatre and infirmary wards, workshops and classrooms of the inmates.

Government has allotted sixty pesewas to each inmate for daily feeding.

The prison since its establishment in 1960 has not seen any rehabilitation and currently, the roofs were leaking badly in addition to bad wiring of the entire Prison.

DDP Ansong-Agyepong said that despite the problems, authorities continued to offer training in carpentry, tailoring, masonry, weaving, blacksmith, electronics and baking to inmates.

On education, he said only a few inmates have avail themselves to non-formal education in the Prison adding Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities have also been extended to the Prison as part of efforts to rehabilitate some of the inmates.

He said the Prison’s infirmary needed more drugs and an ambulance to help transport patients to and from Prison to the hospital.

DDP Ansong-Agyepong appealed to government to provide the staff of the Prison with decent accommodation.

Mr Short said he was impressed with the high level of professionalism displayed by the staff of the Prison notwithstanding the challenges.

He said CHRAJ was concerned with the conditions existing in the Prisons as well as the working condition of staff.

Mr Short said the CHRAJ would take up problems and particulars of inmates and see how those problems could be solved.

He explained that CHRAJ was going to source for donor assistance to help in rehabilitating inmates so that they could become useful to society after serving their respective jail sentences.

Mr Short urged the public to be educated on the need to accept ex-convict into the society and expressed satisfaction with the introduction of ICT programmes for inmates.

He deplored the use of chained link wires used in demarcating boundaries within the male prisons.

The visit was nearly marred when inmates of the male prison became rowdy and shouted at the officials “get out of the prisons.”

Other expressions were “We are tired”, “They don’t take us to court” and “I have been on remand for so many years without trial.”

Kojo Attah Panyin, a second-hand cloth dealer, who has been on remand for 11 years for robbery appealed to the authorities to ensure that his case was.

Panyin said he was arrested by the Police at Medie, near Pokuase 11 years ago together with four others for allegedly robbing a Filling station in Legon, Accra.

According to him, he passed the night at Nsawam Railway station and left for Accra only to be arrested by the Police for a robbery incident which took place in Legon.

He said during his arrest, the Police after a search on their vehicle they claimed they found nothing incriminatory, but arrested them because the “Police claimed they suspected them for robbery.”

A 65-year-old driver, Dan Hurges Amegero, said he was arrested in 1993 by the Police on suspicion that a pair of sandals with his name inscribed on it was found at a crime scene.

He was charged with robbery and appeared at Akropong magistrate court and damped at the Nsawam Medium Prisons.
Source: GNA

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