Ashanti Regional Security Council has ordered a transfer of some prisoners at the Kumasi Central Prisons after a bloody revolt left one prisoner dead and at least five others injured.
Regional Minister Samuel Sarpong says the transfer will hopefully ease the congestion there.
Last night’s incident occurred after prison inmates refused to return to their cells after a fire outbreak. Many assaulted the prison wardens and others attempted to escape, forcing police to turn to teargas and live ammunition in order to maintain order.
Calm has since been restored.
With Thursday as a visiting day, relatives are disappointed that they have been denied the opportunity to check on their loved ones.
Confirming the directive to transfer the prisoners, Interior Minister Mark Wonyongo told Joy News that the inmates will be dispersed to Ankaful, Manhyia and Amanfrom prisons.
He decried congestion at the prisons and pointed out that the Kumasi Central Prisons now detains 2,121 when it was meant for only 600.
According to the minister, a law on non-custodial sentencing will soon be passed which will help ease congestion "drastically".
"We are dumping people there just for minor offences…There are certain minor offences which shouldn’t warrant a person going to prison and after we begin to practice this non-custodial sentencing the congestion will be drastically reduced".
The revolt also exposed the ability of prison officers to contain violence there because by regulation, the officers do not carry weapons.The Minister believes this should change.
"They have very very few arms. In the Upper West prison there is only one gun in the prisons there" he lamented.
The Minister assured officers that he was in touch with the Finance Ministry to arm them in the event of future situations. He said the Ministry has received cost proposals it was studying to foward to the Finance Ministry.
“It is necessary that we arm these prison officers.They need to be armed so that they are not attacked”, he maintained.