“At all times of trial and adversity, in hunger or thirst, in heat or cold, in rain or storm, seeking our strength from God, we shall endure cheerfully in the way of our duty”-Prison Officers’ Dedication to Duty.

“Let us pray for the Police and Military; so the good Lord will protect them and their families from any unforeseen circumstances and also grant them divine protection in their daily activities”. This is the usual prayer line, said for the two mentioned security services, with the thinking that security is always the Police and Army.

I ask myself, which other Pastor or Imam leads his members to say a prayer for the service that have the sole responsibility of reforming and rehabilitating of inmates in all the Prison facilities in Ghana?

I hardly hear religious bodies intercede for officers with the Ghana Prisons Service as they do for their counterparts in other services, during worship sessions in churches and the mosques. Prison officers do need more prayers as any other security officer in the country.

They take up the responsibility of ‘taming the lion’ that was sedated by the Police and asked by the court to be caged in their custody for all the period they will be serving.

Prison officers deserve the same prayers said for the Police and Military, because they face more daring situations in and outside the facility with inmates; the grace of God can’t be downplayed in reformation of inmates.

When you bow to say a prayer, mention the Prison officer who puts himself in the shoes of the inmate, so he or she finds solace, in order to make you have a peaceful sleep and have sound vicinity devoid of armed bandits. They keep them in safe custody until they’re reformed and ready to be reintegrated back into the society.

The prison officer knows no holiday, 24/7 he or she must be with the lion the court asked to be tamed. Night shift officers have but only a plastic chair to sit in, and when nature calls with sleep or slumber, the thought of you going to lose your sound sleep and the disorder the nation is going to face if some of the hardened inmates’ break jail, makes them sacrifice their sleep for you.

One might argue that, Security isn’t about Prayers but logistics and the right training, yes, that is a fact that can’t be downplayed but they never start their duties, without saying a word of prayer for God’s divine protection.

Fervent prayers must always be said for the men and women in brown, who escort inmates without side arms, cuffs, pepper spray and shockers but are mandated to bring them back in good condition! They deserve 5 minutes of your opening prayers at your worship centers and another 5 during your daily morning devotions.

The last stanza of the Dedication to Duty oath taken by Prison officers, before they pass out from the Prison Officers’ Training School, reads; Proud of our craft and giving in all things of each siding the other and blending our hearts and minds to the honour and advancement of Service, to the glory of God and safety and welfare of our nation.

Reformation of prisoners isn’t for the faint hearted, but your prayers will keep officers going every day

The writer is a Second Class Officer with the Ghana Prisons Service and can be contacted on [email protected] or 0249542342

By Emmanuel Agyemfra Boateng

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