Government to ensure prison inmates vote

President John Evans Atta Mills on Tuesday gave the assurance that government would resource the Electoral Commission (EC) to put in place mechanisms that would enable prison inmates to exercise their franchise.

He said prison inmates have the right to exercise their franchise and that the government and the EC would abide by the Supreme Court ruling on the issue.

President Mills gave the assurance when he inaugurated the Ankaful Maximum Security Prison in the Central Region and cut the sod for the commencement of the second phase of the Prison project.

The first phase  which was started in 1998 has a 2,000  inmates capacity, an administration block,  modern clinic with beds, six blocks of inmates dormitories with modern toilet and ablution facilities, well equipped kitchen,  sports and recreational facilities, biogas plant  as well as  two- bedroom  and three-bedroom staff accommodation for officers.

The second phase would comprise a training workshop, chapel and a mosque.

President Mills commended the New Patriotic Party for not abandoning the project which was started by the National Democratic Congress in 1998.

He stressed the need for governments to endeavour to continue with projects started by their predecessors.

He called on Prison officers to treat the inmates with care and love, which he said would help transform them and make it easier for them to be integrated into the society.

President expressed concern about congestion in the nation’s prisons, which he said was creating a lot of problems including health challenges.

Dr Benjamin Kunbour, Minister of the Interior expressed the need for Ghana Prisons Service to be fully resourced to enable it take care of inmates.

He also expressed concern about the overcrowding in the prisons stressing that the current prisons population stood at 13,426 instead of 7,875 and suggested alternative ways such as non-custodial sentences for offenders.

Dr Kunbour called for a holistic approach to solve the problems, saying, everything would be done to ensure the passage of the alternative imprisonment bill.

Mr Michael Kofi Bansah, Acting Director General of Prison commended the government for providing the Ankaful Prison facility which he stressed would go a long way to ease the congestion in other prisons.

Mr Bansah noted that most of the facilities in the country’s prison are obsolete and do not meet the standards of modern prisons and called on public-spirited individuals and organisations to partner the government for the rehabilitation of the inmates.

The President also inaugurated a 12-unit classroom block for Wesley Girls High School and gave the assurance that more classrooms would be built to ease the congestion in the school.

He urged the students to reciprocate government’s efforts by taking their studies seriously.

Source: GNA

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