Persons who visit inmates at the Kumasi Prison reportedly pay a mandatory fee of GH¢2 transaction which does not attract a receipt; a newspaper report said on Thursday.
An official of the prison is reported to have explained that the papers on which details of the visitors are written serve as receipts. What he did not explain was where the monies so collected go to and whether it is lawful to pick such fees from the visitors.
The Ghana Prisons Headquarters will surely address this issue which under the circumstances sounds unusual.
If indeed inmates are entitled to receiving visitors on prescribed days and frequencies devoid of fees, then the Kumasi Prisons story must be looked into with a view to reversing it.
On the other hand, if perhaps, the monies so collected are used to provide some services within the prisons, same must be explained to us. Otherwise the impression the story has created about the security agency is anything but good.
We are aware about the many shortcomings being faced by prison officers across the country many of these dating back many years.
The Ghana Prison Service is arguably one of the security agencies with more challenges than the others. Unfortunately, little is heard about these because of the inability of officers to resort to the media to vent their pains – the standards of their occupation not allowing that.
Managing the country’s most dangerous criminals is not a picnic affair especially under conditions which leave much to be desired.
Living with inmates and doing their best to reform them so that upon their return to the larger society they would not return to their old ways demands a lot of sacrifice from prison officers.
There are a lot of things that central government can do to improve the living standards of both prison officers and inmates – changes which can go a long way in boosting the morale of officers so they can really reform the convicts.
Refresher courses and relevant seminars including special packages for the specialized security duties they perform are some of the innovations which can help in lifting the morale of personnel.
When some inmates return to the four walls of the prison no sooner than they are released, it is because of the inadequacy of the reform process.
If the facilities at the prisons are improved upon and officers’ morale raised by the provision of the necessary allowances, the objectives of imprisonment which are reformatory and punitive would have been achieved.
We have only highlighted the issue of the GH¢2 with a view to bringing to the fore the untold story of the Ghana Prisons Service.