BY MUNTALLA INUSAH
INFORMATION AVAILABLE to the DAILY HERITAGE indicates that the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons designed to house 800 inmates currently holds 3,500 inmates.
In percentage terms, the population has increased by 337.5%.
Deputy Director of Prisons for the Eastern Region, Mr Isaac Kofi Egyiri, made this known to the DAILY HERITAGE when the ‘Justice for All Programme (JFA)’ team visited the Nsawam Prisons, where some inmates were discharged under the programme.
“Currently as we speak, we have over 3,500 inmates at the prisons and the holding capacity has been 800. You can image the rate of over-population in the prisons.
“We all know that modern civil society works to uphold the basic and fundamental rights of the citizens, prisoners inclusive, and that is what Ghana Prison Service has tried to uphold to ensure that the prisoners have access to justice,” he stated.
“We are delighted to have collaborators who are always willing to come and support us. It is an open secret that the Nsawam Prison is overpopulated and has remand prisoners forming substantial portion of it and therefore justice for all is one of the potent means by which we use to decongest the prisons.”
Touching on mentally-troubled inmates, the Deputy Eastern Regional Prisons Commander said “we occasionally have mentally-challenged inmates who were brought in already challenged and some too due to stress and frustration also develop it in the prisons, but whichever way, we have competent medical staff who handle the cases and refer them to appropriate quarters for redress.”
Six freed at Nsawam Prisons under JFA
A total of six remand prisoners, including four murder suspects, were freed under the Justice for All programme at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons, with 24 others receiving bail.
The six, Kweku Appiah, 47, Kofi Ampadu, 32, Michael Kweku Obeng, 30, and Omaru Manu, 30, had all spent over four years on remand for an alleged murder without trial.
The rest are Jibril Alidu, 30, and Zilah Kwasi, 26, who had spent six years and five-and-a-half years respectively on remand for robbery and narcotic offence.
On Friday, at the Nsawam Prisons, three judges with the Justice for All Programme, led by a Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, visited the Nsawam Prisons to deal with cases of persons on remand.
Some 24 people were granted bail with surety out of the total of 50 inmates who were lined up to be considered. After the exercise, 18 were denied bail and asked to re-apply the next time while two cases were struck out.