No inmate in the country’s prisons has contracted coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic.
This was disclosed by Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in his address at the graduation ceremony of officer cadets, of Ghana Prisons Service in Accra on Friday, 7 May 2021.
Dr Bawumia expressed appreciation to all the agencies within the criminal justice system for working together for keeping the inmates safe.
He said: “It is gratifying to learn that till today none of the inmates that were in custody before the onset of the pandemic have contracted covid-19. This is quite remarkable.
“I express my appreciation to all the agencies of the nation’s criminal justice system for their collaborative effort in ensuring that our prisons are fully protected from the menace of the disease.
“Through the ongoing vaccination campaign, some 2161 officers and 1136 inmates with underlying conditions have been vaccinated in Accra, Greater Kumasi, Northern and Western regions.”
Dr Bawumia also underscored the crucial role of the Prisons Service in the administration of justice in the country, and government's continuous efforts to improve the capacity and welfare of the Service.
He highlighted interventions the Akufo-Addo government has been making in the past four years towards improving the capacity of the Service, especially in the expansion of personnel, infrastructure, as well as welfare.
"Government’s commitment to improve adequately the human resource of the Prison Service has led to the expansion of its manpower base, with the recruitment of some two thousand, nine hundred and fifty (2,950) recruits, and enlistment of three hundred (300) cadets, over the course of the last four years," Dr. Bawumia revealed.
Dr. Bawumia stressed that government is mindful of challenges confronting the Ghana Prisons Service and that it has been taking necessary steps since 2017 to address some of these challenges.
"For instance, in November last year, the Service took delivery of ten (10) brand new Nissan Hardbody pickups to augment its fleet. I know the Service needs more vehicles, and I assure you that you will receive more vehicles in our second term."
"With respect to accommodation for officers, I am happy to inform you that contractors working on residential facilities at the Ankaful, Nsawam and Roman Ridge Prisons Complexes, have resumed work in earnest, after the brief break due to COVID-19."
"Government is also upgrading all health facilities in the prisons, to make them more responsive to the health needs of officers and inmates. Currently, the infirmary at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison has been elevated to the status of a District Hospital, whilst those at the Ankaful Maximum Security, Kumasi Central and the Koforidua prisons, have also been elevated to clinics."
"Government will continue to work closely with the Service to develop the capacity of prison officers, and to enable them perform their duties in accordance with international standards, which are of great concern to the Ghanaian people," Dr. Bawumia assured.