All over the world, inmates serving various prison sentences are not allowed to use mobile phones except the phones provided and regulated by the authorities of the prison facility, the deputy public relations officer of the Ghana Prisons Service has said.
ASP Samuel Kofi Opoku was responding to a claim by the morning show host of Accra-based Hot FM that the programme’s research revealed that prison inmates were responsible for a lot of fraud committed through the use of mobile phones.
ASP Opoku dismissed the research findings as vague and rumour-based.
He suspected that some ex-convicts who consciously want to tarnish the image of the Prisons Service were behind such rumours.
ASP Opoku argued that some educated and right-thinking members of society also engage in these fraudulent calls that lure unsuspecting victims to transfer huge sums of money to their mobile money accounts per reports lodged at police stations and the criminal investigations department (CID).
He revealed that some visitors, in the first quarter of this year, were searched before gaining entry to the prisons and prohibited items like Indian hemp, mobile phones and cigarette were found in the food items and containers they brought as gifts for the inmates.
Such culprits, he said, are dealt with accordingly and handed over to the police for further investigations and necessary action.
Also, he noted that officers who are caught trafficking or smuggling prohibited items into the prison yard are sanctioned.
Mostly, he said, the culprits hide tramadol and rolls of weed in cooked dishes like Banku and Kenkey.
ASP Opoku said despite the underlying challenges the service faces, all 13,149 prison inmates in Ghana enjoy the right to nondiscrimination, freedom of conscience, thought and religion and the right not to be subjected to torture, cruel and inhumane treatment as evident in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He urged all corporate institutions, faith-based organisations, non- governmental organisations and well-meaning Ghanaians to complement the efforts of the government in ensuring higher standards within the prison system.