Ineffective Police investigations is cause of over crowding in Ghana’s Prisons

A senior officer at the Medium Security Prisons at Nsawam, Superintendent Edward Ashun, has attributed the continuous over-crowding in the prisons, to the lack of effective investigations conducted by the personnel of the Ghana Police Service before sending suspected criminals to the courts.

He said there are several suspects languishing in the prison because of lack of evidence by the police to pursue such cases in court.

This situation he observed was a contributing factor to the overcrowding at the Nsawam Prisons.

Superintendent Edward Ashun was addressing students from the Sociology Department of University of Ghana, Legon, who visited the Nsawam Prisons last Saturday to acquaint themselves with the state of the country’s Prisons.

The students who were mostly penology students visited the prisons as part of their academic work.

Superintendent Ashun expressed worry about cases that have been abandoned by the police for lack of evidence yet the victims were still in prison custody, a situation he observed was affecting the management of the Prisons.

According to Sup. Ashun, the Ghana Prisons Service is going through various structural and managerial transformation so as to meet international standards.

He observed that the service is currently focusing on treatment and rehabilitation of the inmates so that criminals can actually reform and get back to the society.

According to the Prison‘s officer, the prisons is admitting more criminals involved in rape related cases as against common offenses like stealing and robbery cases. He appealed to the Judicial Service to take a second look at the ‘Justice for all Programme’ which was introduced in 2007 to deal with remand cases that were admitted at the Prisons.

He said most of these inmates who benefited from the ‘Justice for all Programme’ go out there and engage in more dangerous crimes, which defeats the purpose of the programme.

He revealed that 300 inmates were released in 2012 through the Justice for all Programme’.

The Headmaster for both Junior and Senior High schools at the Prisons who was formerly a District Director of Education, John Gey Akuetia, a prisoner, disclosed that students who graduate from the Prisons schools and gain admission to the University are unable to pursue their courses at the University.

This he indicated was because they have not finished serving their jail terms. In view of this, he appealed to the Government to institute measures that will absolve these inmates into the Universities.

The male prison which was originally designed to house 719 inmates, currently has a population of about 3571 convicts, while the female prison accommodated 110 at the time of the educational tour.