Minister calls for rehash of Ghana’s penal system to reflect changing times
Mr Cletus Avorka, Minister for the Interior, on Friday said that the time was ripe for a complete revision of the country’s penal system to ensure effective modern correctional trends.
He said it was no use to send people whose infractions were only misdemeanors to crammed prisons to mingle with hardened criminals when they could do community service as punishment.
Mr Avorka was addressing a durbar of workers of institutions under the Ministry to climax his two-day tour of the Volta Region, in Ho.
He challenged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to come out with correctional modules to meet the exigencies of the time.
Mr. Avorka wondered why someone could be jailed for six-months for stealing a fowl and be fed and clothed by government, while someone who embezzle huge sums of public money would only be reprimanded and given time to refund the amount.
He said his interaction with some inmates of the Ho Prisons during his visit, gave him cause to ask the Police Service to do more than it was doing and advised that “The Police should promote reconciliation by mediating petty squabbles and not use the courts as a dumping ground of your problems”.
The Minister cited two young women of common ancestry on remand at the female ward of the Ho Prison for fighting over a bowl.
He said government would soon go into negotiation with private developers to tackle the accommodation problems of the security services.
Mr Avorka challenged institutions at all levels to design innovative ways of tackling problems and not always wait on government.
The Minister said government would do something about the bad state of the Volta Regional Police Headquarters and commended the Police Command for taking steps to improve the situation.
Miss Elizabeth Adjei, Director of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), who accompanied the Minister on his visit, urged immigration personnel to be professional in the discharge of their work.
Mr David Ampah-Bennin, Volta Regional Police Commander, Mr Francis Kpobi, Regional Commander of GIS and Mr Eric Tei-Mensah, Regional Commander of the Ghana National Fire Services (GNFS) also accompanied the minister on his tour.
They complained about the inadequate residential accommodation logistics.
Mr Tei-Mensah said the region had only one serviceable fire tender and called for the completion of a residential flat project for the service that has been abandoned.
Mr Al-Hassan Legibo, the Regional Commander of the Prison Service, called for the construction of another Prison in the Southern part of the region.
Issues raised during an open forum included the fact that some school children and personnel of private institutions used uniforms similar to those of some security services, problems with securing study leave for service personnel and installation of pre-paid electricity meters at hired Police accommodations.