150 Ghanaians serving time in UK prisons

PrisonBritish government officials in Ghana say an estimated 150 Ghanaians are serving various terms in prisons in the UK, and for a variety of offences.

In a media interaction in Accra, Mr Matthew Johnson, Acting British High Commissioner to Ghana, said the UK government is in talks with the Ghana government to transfer some of these prisoners into the country to complete their sentences. British citizens erving prison terms in Ghana can also take advantage of the transfer facility to complete their sentences in the UK, he said.

“150 Ghanaians are currently serving jail sentences in the UK”, Mr Johnson said.

He indicated that it is preferable for prisoners to serve their sentences in their home countries because they have families and relations closer to them, adding that it also saves costs to the UK government because it is more expensive to look after prisoners in the UK.

Mr. Neil McKillop, Second Secretary for Migration at the High Commission told ghanabusinessnews.com that under the Voluntary Prisoner Transfer Agreement between Ghana and the UK, a prisoner can be transferred with his or her own consent to complete sentence in the home country. He also indicated that there are about 10 British citizens currently serving prison terms in Ghana.

According to McKillop a person who serves a prison term of more than 12 months in the UK would have his or her visa forfeited  and would be banned from entering the UK for a period. In some cases, however, he said some individuals can reapply and their application would be reconsidered.

Under the prisoner transfer agreement, he said a person who after coming out of prison, based on behaviour and compliance with officials would be reintegrated in Ghana. The person could get about £750 to £1,500 towards resettlement and reintegration.

Mr. McKillop said that there are currently an estimated 500,000 Ghanaians living in the UK. This number is however expected to rise after the Home Office in the UK publishes the results of the 2011 UK Census which was recently held on March 27, 2011.

Meanwhile, some of the census forms were printed in two Ghanaian languages (Twi and Fante) which were top on the list of outside languages apart from English and Mr Johnson told ghanabusinessnews.com that the inclusion of the languages was due to the Ghanaian population in the UK.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Ekow Quandzie

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