The Ghana Prisons Service has set up a task force to reform the service. The reform process is in line with the vision of the Prison Administration to upgrade the prison system in Ghana.
The upgrading of the Prisons Service is to comply with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of prisoners and also to conform to international norms and best practices. Conscious efforts are being made to bring all stakeholders on board to build a good foundation for transformation.
This information was contained in a press release issued and signed by the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Prisons Service, DSP Vitalis Aiyeh.
According to him, as a first step, the Director-General of Prisons has commissioned a Transformational Task Force with various expertise from different departments of the Service, headed by Rev CSP James Tetteh of Prisons Headquarters, to advice on the reform agenda.
He went on to say that the main task of the Transitional Team will be to assess the current state of affairs in the Prisons Service, including structures, policies, systems and procedures for operation.
“It will also study how the overcrowding challenges and strategise on best ways to decongest our prisons. They will be looking at developing new systems and procedures for admitting classification and their sentence planning and effective re-entry after their discharge,” he added.
DSP Aiyeh stated that the team will also advise on capacity building of staff to equip them with operating tools for upgrading standards in the Service in line with guidelines of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of prisoners.
He also stressed that the Director-General’s terms of reference for the Transformation Team also include high-level consultations with all stakeholders, especially key agencies of the Criminal Justice System, members of the civil society, religious groups, volunteers, and both local and international development partners in the country.
DSP Aiyeh expressed the hope of building wider consensus Prison Reforms in the country to make the prisons relevant to Criminal Justice Administration.
He noted that with this mandate the Transformational Team has been receiving a great deal of assistance from the British High Commission, Migration Section, led by Mr Charanpreet Singh Walia.
In November 2013, the U.K. government at our request commissioned a study into the Ghanaian Prison System with the aim of making recommendations for its reform into a modern Correctional System.
The report, together with its recommendations, is being examined by the Transformational Team to help strategise on actions to take to improve on existing structures, systems, methods of operations and general handling of prisoners in this country.
DSP Aiyeh concluded that it was the hope of the Prisons Administration that all other stakeholders will provide the much-needed help to the team to come up with the best options that will transform the Ghana Prisons Service into an effective Correctional Service that Ghana will be proud of.