A medical doctor whose incarceration for sodomy made headlines in 2015 is changing lives at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison located in Eastern Region.
Dr Sulley Ali-Gabass was a medical doctor at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital in the Western Region before he landed in prison for sodomising a 16-year-old boy.
He is currently serving a 25-year jail sentence for the offence.
But barely four years into his jail term, he is playing a key role in a novel project by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to afford convicts the opportunity to acquire a diploma.
The project allows prison inmates serving a long sentence to enrol onto UCC’s Distance Learning Programme.
Dr Ali-Gabass has been appointed a Tutor in some courses in the sciences.
So together with lecturers of UCC and Prison Officers as well as inmates with professional skills, Dr Ali-Gabass is helping to make the Plan Volta Foundation’s project a success.
Recently, some 59 inmates graduated with a diploma in various courses through the project.
Also, 32 fresh students have been admitted to study for a diploma in courses like Management, Accounting among others.
“I will like to thank the Almighty Allah for making me part of this programme. Ever since I came to this facility, I have not rested because to me, being of help is something that I take to heart because as a human being, your essence is being of help,” Dr Ali-Gabass told Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng.
He said even before being appointed as a tutor for the project by UCC, he had been teaching many science subjects to some inmates at the SHS level.
“For me, that will be something that I can take home with,” he told Joy News.
During the graduation ceremony for the 59 inmates at the Nswam Prisons recently, Vice-Chancellor of UCC, Dr Joseph Ampiah, said the initiative to enrol the inmates onto the diploma programmes reflects the university’s mandate to be the “great citadel of learning.”
“This is the first time in this country tertiary education has been taken to the doorstep of prison inmates,” he stated.
Dr Ampiah also shared the story of one Daniel Mangle, a former convict who studied law while serving his term for manslaughter but who has become a lawyer for prison guards and inmates in civil court cases.
Mr Mangle is currently teaching Law at the University of Michigan State University.
In 2016, some 200 people signed a petition to get a presidential pardon for Dr Ali-Gabass but it was suspended.