Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has charged the newly constituted Governing Council of the Ghana Prisons Service to urgently resolve the water problem facing prisons across the country.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 13-member Governing Council of the Prison Service in Accra, Vice President Bawumia noted that the supply of water to the prisons was inadequate considering the large number of inmates currently in custody.
He therefore, urged the Council to take up the water issue immediately and gave the assurance that government would work closely with them to find a lasting solution to the problem.
“Last week, I called the Ghana Water Company to raise this issue with them and the Managing Director directed the Borehole Drilling Unit based in the Kumasi Section to rectify the matter so let see how quickly they will supply water to our prisons,” he noted.
The Vice President disclosed that as part of the joint venture agreement signed between Ghana and China, Government would provide 25,000 accommodation facilities to the security services, and said the Prison officers would be well catered for in that regard.
He noted that due to the poor ratio of prison personnel to inmates, it had affected the performance of the Service.
In view of this, he said government had given approval to the Prison Service to recruit 1,000 prison officers and hoped it would enhance their outputs so that it would meet the international best practices in prison administration.
He urged the Council members to offer their guidance during the recruitment process so that the right calibre of personnel would be recruited.
“All over the world, the philosophy of prisons is changing from being mere custodians of inmates to rehabilitation, so that they would be reformed and re-integrated into the society as nation builders and not as nation wreckers,” he emphasised.
Vice President Bawumia charged the Council to adopt public-private partnerships approach in resolving the prison infrastructure challenge and relocation of the old ones to appropriate places.
He urged the prison administration to offer modern methods and professional training and re-training to the prisons personnel as well as engaging in foreign missions and exchange programmes to build their capacities for the task ahead.
“The Prison Service should rebrand itself with diligence and professionalism so that the public will have trust and confidence in the prison administration,” he advised.
Vice President Bawumia, on behalf of the President, expressed appreciation to the members of the Council for accepting to serve on the Council.
Reverend Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, the General-Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana and a member of the Council, on behalf of the members, thanked the President for the confidence reposed in them and gave the assurance that they would work diligently to meet their mandate.
He said the Council would work to give a new face to the Efiase Project which was initiated by the previous administration in order to meet the set objectives.
The 13-member Council was chaired by the Most Rev. Peter Paul Yelezuome Angkyier, the Bishop of Damongo Catholic Diocese in the Northern Region.
The Chapter 16 of the 1992 Constitution established the Prison Service and mandates it as the custodian, rehabilitation and re-integration of prisoners.