Ghana Prisons Service denies caning at correctional centres

Ms. Baffour-Awuah - DG of Ghana Prisons
Ms. Baffour-Awuah – DG of Ghana Prisons

The Management of the Ghana Prisons Service on Thursday denied some reports filtering into the Ghanaian media that officers of the service were caning and torturing inmates of the country’s prisons.

“The official position of the Ghana Prisons Service on caning is that it constitutes a criminal offence and any officer caught indulged in this act is expected to face the full rigours of the law.”

This was contained in a statement signed by Deputy Superintendent of Prisons, Vitalis A-iyeh, Chief Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Prisons Service and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

According to the statement Mr Juan Mendez, United Nations Rapporteur, who visited the country’s prisons some months ago reported and went on air to announce that senior officers had maltreated and tortured inmates in the country’s correctional centres which necessitated the recent visits of the new Director-General of Prisons.

The statement added: “It also constitutes a serious offence under Section 25 of the Prisons Act, NRCD 46 (1972) and a criminal offence for “any prison officer who in anyway tortures, or subjects to cruelty a prisoner, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years”.

Mr A-iyeh said although the full findings on the Rapporteur had not been presented, it was expedient to explain issues to eliminate the falsehood that had been peddled in view of the fact that the Ghana Prisons Service was complying with all the international regulations regarding the treatment of prisoners.

“While we wait the final report of the UN Rapporteur, we want to assure the public, our working partners and the international community that the Prisons Service is currently undergoing serious structural and legal reforms to make our prisons places to be proud of and will not turn the clock back.

“The Ghana Prisons Service will ensure that the image of the country’s prisons will reflect the current good image Ghana has carved for herself internationally, in good governance especially rule of law and Human Rights, “the statement added.

The statement said Mr Mendez confused the public on the mandate of the Ghana Prisons Service by attributing the plight of psychiatric patients to the service.

“It also appears that Mr Mendez clearly confused the mandate of the Prisons Service which is an agency under the Ministry of Interior with the Ministry of Health under which psychiatric hospitals operate.  Therefore, whatever conditions he saw there could not have been attributed to the Prisons Service.  It is also worth noting that the shackling of children who have mental disorders at prayer camps was presented in the Media as though they are prison inmates.  This is misleading because prayer camps do not fall under the mandate of the Prisons Service.”

The Public Relations Officer gave the assurance that the Ghana Prisons Service would continue to collaborate with the civil society and the NGOs to seek better reforms that would make the country’s prisons habitable.

He said they would also expand their agricultural activities and skills training programmes that would create jobs for the prisoners after serving their terms at the centres and therefore, appealed for partnerships that would help achieve these goals.

Source: GNA

1 Comment
  1. paddy says

    God doesn’t live in Ghana. Anything is possible. I believe there is torture in the prisons

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