The Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Ghana Prison Service, ASP Richard Bukari has described conditions and feeding rations at the Kumasi main prisons as appalling, insisting the inmates were still living by the grace of God.
According to him, the daily stipend of 1.80pesewas per inmate was totally inadequate for them to get healthy or nutritious foods.
Speaking to Oheneba Asiedu, host of the Omanba pa show on Silver Fm in Kumasi, ASP Bukari bemoaned the conditions prevailing at the main central prisons where authorities were still struggling to meet the health challenges of the inmates.
He stressed the authorities apart from the health and feeding challenges were also battling with the unending issue of congestion as the over 1,600 inmates had been piled up in cells like sardines.
Stressing on the huge numbers at the main central prisons, the PRO said instead of the 450 inmates the facility had been built to take authorities however have no choice than to cope with the current 1,600 numbers the reformation home.
No wonder, he mentioned the frequent outbreak of communicable diseases at the cells, adding many have contracted diseases hitherto their incarceration were known to have.
ASP Bukari noted the division in the cells where remand prisoners were separated from condemned or convicted ones.
According to him, only hardened criminals and those serving terms close or more than ten (10) years were serving their time at the Kumasi Central Prisons, indicating the Prisons Service has five(5) others in the Ashanti Region where those serving low sentences were kept.
Reacting to allegations by an inmate who spoke to an undercover journalist in Kumasi, the PRO denied that the prison authorities had levied each inmate a hundred (100) Ghana cedis to repair some broken things at the prison.
According to him, the prison authorities are well aware of the difficult conditions the inmates were facing and will not compound their sorry state by levying them.
He stressed the Prison Service was more focused in helping the inmates to reform and also learn a trade or write their Basic or Senior High School Certificate Exams while serving their term than any other thing.
He, however, conceded that congestion, poor meals as well as the general conditions at the prisons were poor for human habitation.
He, therefore, pleaded that government as well as the public come to their aid and help them resolve teething problems as well as pay for the registration fees of some of the inmates who are billed to write the BECE and SHS exams.
STORY BY MICHAEL OFOSU-AFRIYIE