Ex-convicts cry for inmates; want immediate govt intervention

Two reformed ex-convicts, Rev. David God and Joseph Frazier have raised serious concerns about prisons conditions and urged the government to take a critical look at some dubious activities and practices gaining grounds at the confinement centre.

The ex- convicts in an interview with Maame Akua on Asempa FM’s midmorning show programme dubbed Abrabo said claims that prisons are meant to reform criminals are mere rhetoric.  

The situation in the prisons has nothing to do with reformationl, they remarked.

According to them, it is just by divine intervention that some prisoners come out reformed. Largely due to the voluntary counseling they submit themselves to and administer by some pastors, who often visit the prisons to share the word of God, and not because they had any kind of support from the Ghana Prison Service.

They further said they are made to eat awful meals, which leave them wondering if the meals were a form of punishment that is commensurate to their sentence.

Rev. David God Mercies, who served 19 years for murder, recalled that in 1993, there was a day when all the condemned prisoners were brutally beaten for complaining about the consistent poor food served them.

“The prison officer on duty that day, instead of listening to us, misrepresented us that we were rioting in the prison so he called other officers on duty to attack us”, he recalled.

In the course of the attack, he said the then Deputy Officer in charge of prisons, A.S.P Kofi Ladzekpo got wind of it and rushed to the prisons to engage them in a conversation, he noted.

Rev. David God Mercies said one inmate mustered courage and revealed the identity of some kitchen staff, who stole food meant for inmates.

Immediately, he recalled, A.S.P Lazdepko ordering the officers to stop maltreating them and asked that the officers be changed as well as the kitchen staff, which saw a total transformation of their meal for some time.

On his part, Joseph Frazier, who served 20 years in prison, said he was informed by some inmates serving as kitchen staff that they were ordered by some prison officers to steal and sell food meant for the inmates.

According to him, any inmate, who fails to live up to the task, is likely to be sacked from working in the kitchen, which is the only source to good food and access to life at the prison.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Public Affairs Manager at the Ghana Prisons Service, A.S. P Francis Agyerie Kwakye denied all allegations including the poor food served to prison inmates.

He said food served at the prisons is always tasted before given to inmates since the medical officers in charge will never allow any unhealthy food to be served at the prison.

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