The Eastern Regional Director of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Stephen Okpoti-Mensah, is advocating for non-custodial sentences to help to decongest the prisons.
He noted that conditions prevailing in prisons notably, congestion, low food rations and inadequate bedding are not the best and it was important for alternative punishments to be considered so that too many offenders were not sent to the prisons.
Mr Okpoti-Mensah was briefing the media after touring the Koforidua prisons in line with the CHRAJ’s mandate as a human rights institution.
He said CHRAJ in accordance with international practice and standards is mandated to visit prisons periodically to inspect the conditions to enable them to compile reports on human rights as well as make recommendations for corrections to improve the prisons.
He observed that the number of inmates in each cell at the prison was too many and creating congestion and called on the authorities to do something about it.
Despite the congestion, the Koforidua prison has a well-refurbished workshop that offers the opportunity for convicts to be trained in tailoring and a classroom.
The Assistant Director of Prisons (ADP), Joseph Asabre, of the Koforidua prisons, said there were 657 inmates, including 58 foreigners for the 400 capacity prison creating serious congestion.
He appealed for support from corporate Ghana to expand the walls of the prison, a project that had started but stalled due to lack of funds to create more space for the inmates and a clinic, adding that, medical attention is given under canopies.
He also appealed for support to improve the records/reception area because the office is too small and officers use benches and plastic chairs to work.
ADP Asabre also appealed for the increment in the feeding fee of the inmates, which was currently pegged at GH¢ 1.80 per day, saying that, it was woefully inadequate.