Officials at the newly inaugurated Ankaful Maximum Security Prisons in the Central Region, fear inmates can escape anytime if prevailing conditions there are not managed properly.
This is because the officers are compelled to take the convicts out to seek medical attention because, the health facility in the prisons, has been without drugs for almost a year. There also no vehicles to convey them under such circumstances.
The convicts, who are mainly for robbery and other first degree felonies, are serving sentences ranging between 50 to 172 years. They include notably hardened criminals such as Ataa Ayi and Johnson Kombian.
Weeks of investigations by Joy News reveal that the prisoners who were transferred from the Nsawam Maximum Security Prison, the Kumasi Central, the Sekondi Central and the Ankaful Annex Prisons are taken out to seek medical attention rather being treated at the health centre in the prisons solely built for the purposes of treating convicts with such criminal profiles.
Currently, two of the convicts are on admission at the Ankaful Leprosarium hospital because the nurses at the prison’s health facility have no drugs to treat them and thus have no option than to refer them to other facilities elsewhere.
Doctors who hitherto, were called in to work on the patients when their ailments were beyond control of the nurses working in the facility, have also stopped going to the facility because there are no drugs and other related health materials.
A source at the Maximum security prisons told Joy News; “there is no paracetamol, neither is there any single drug that can be used to treat the prisoners should any of them fall sick. Imagine sending someone like Ataa Ayi or Johnson Kombian out of this facility to seek medical attention elsewhere. Anything can happen!”
Apart from the deficit in health at the Maximum security Prisons, convicts are sent to the courts in taxis and metro mass buses in and around Cape Coast.
“Some of them who are due for court are sent to board the metro buses as early as 4am to either Kumasi or beyond as a result of inadequate vehicles,” the source added.
The only vehicle – a Mahindra pick up- is not in good shape and breaks down constantly, heightening the security risk prison officials go through.
The transfer of about 600 inmates was described as highly successful and well coordinated as it was jointly executed by the Ghana Prisons Service and the Panthers Unit of the Ghana Police Service.
Unlike what currently pertains in most Ghanaian prisons, each inmate at the Ankaful Prison is entitled to a bed and a mattress.
The 2,000 capacity ultra-modern prison facility was inaugurated by the late president, John Evans Atta Mills in November, 2011. It was described as a perfect and an ideal place for convicts that are considered to be hardened.
But unfortunately, after the inauguration of the facility, even the bio-fuel component that is supposed to provide fuel for cooking and other fuel needs for the prisoners, has been discontinued. This is is said to be putting dire financial stress on the prison authorities.
“It becomes very difficult getting fire wood to cook for these prisoners. Sometimes, we have to use our individual resources to conduct some magic in order to feed the inmates. The generator that is supposed to provide energy to power the facility when there is any power outage has only worked once since the inauguration of the facility in 2011.
“Imagine this dark place with the caliber of inmates we have here. All we have are our torch lights. It becomes very scary! Something needs to be done,” the source grieved.
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