Prison Break: Kumasi attempt was well planned- Interior Minister

Interior Minister, Mark Woyongo has said the recent chaos at the Kumasi Central Prisons was a well planned attempted jail break.

He said snippets of information available to him indicate that there are people behind the attempted jail break and vehicles were planted to whisk away escapees.

“Information we are getting indicates that some people are behind this. It is a well-planned jailbreak and unfortunately or fortunately for us it didn’t go through.”

“Because I am told there were cars standing around to pick some of the prison inmates, that is why they were trying to break the walls and immediately they come out the cars will whisk them away”, he continued.

According to him, a visit to the prisons shows massive destruction of equipment and other items at the carpentry shop and computer laboratory.

He said he is saddened by the development and will institute an immediate investigation to unravel the mystery and those behind it.

”We are going to do a very thorough investigation. Some of the inmates are already cooperating with the authorities and I’m sure we will get to the bottom of the issue.”

Mr Woyongo concedes that the huge number of inmates in the prison is putting a lot of pressure on facilities there, hence their displeasure, but added that measures are being put in place to reduce the congestion.

“I know that one of the problems of this prison has been the issue of congestion. It was built for a population of 600 and there are over 2000 inmates and when you have so many people in a prison you have a lot of pressure on facilities in the prison and that gives room for disaffection. I am not surprised that we had this development.”

He said the ministry is working hard to ensure that non-custodial sentencing is introduced to help in decongesting the prisons.

This is to ensure that people who commit minor offences are not sent to prison, they can go and do communal work at any of our assemblies and allowed to go free because “I don’t think it makes sense for someone to go and steal bunch of banana and then you go and throw him in prison for three months.”

According to the minister, the Justice for all system will be tasked to go round all prisons in the country, to review cases on remand and give them justice.

He has also directed that the prisons service publish names of prisoners who have been transferred, in order for relatives to get in touch with them.

He said plans are in place to relocate the prison from its current location is to a more secluded area.

Meanwhile Authorities at Kumasi Central Prison have suspended visits to the facility until further notice following the revolt.

The measure is part of actions to restore permanent order to the facility after the disturbances.

Prison officials are pleading with the public to cooperate with them as they put measures in place to bring sanity to the prisons.

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