They were established as a place to reform crime perpetrators in society. However, the overwhelming numbers of suspects and convicts have rather made it a living hell.
Ranging from insanitary conditions to unhealthy meals, this is the fate of every convict or suspect in Ghana.
Living conditions in majority of Ghana’s prisons are more torturous than the hard labour the inmates endure.
In an attempt to rid the prisons of its present worsening conditions, Samson Lardy Anyenini, together with some colleague lawyers, is embarking on a project themed: “Prison Change with Samson Lardy”.
The collective inmate capacity of Ghana’s prisons is 9,945. This is not even at its best standards.
Data checks indicate that as of December 6, 2021, 13,602 inmates are crammed into Ghana’s prisons.
Not only do these inmates have to endure sleepless nights in a steamed prison cell, they also must subject themselves to insanitary conditions and feed on GHC1.80p meal allowance per day.
Project Lead for the Prison Change project, Lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini shared his motivation for the initiative with JoyNews.
According to him, “as part of my LLB, I did a project using the Kumasi Prisons as my study area. It was titled, 'The Phenomenon of Remandees Turned Convicts.
“I realized a number of people were on remand but have been forgotten. No court has found them guilty of any crime, and yet they’ve been forgotten in the prisons,” he said.
As of 2021, 1,526 people in Ghanaian prisons were those remanded in custody.
The figure represents a decrease in comparison to 2015 when close to 2,400 prisoners awaited trial, while serving in prisons in Ghana.
As part of the long term goals of the project, Lawyer Lardy Anyenini and his team members seek to offer legal assistance to suspects on remand.
“I’m getting my colleague lawyers together, who will help to find out which remandee needs critical legal representation, then assist them so they may gain their freedom.
“Some of these remandees are innocent,” he said.
The project team, under the “Follow Me to the Prisons This Christmas” event, donated toiletries, food and medical items to the Kumasi Central Prisons.
The gesture heralds the commencement of the 'Prisons Change Project' in 2022 to advocate an increase in the daily feeding rate of GHC1.80p per inmate, building a reliable database to identify, especially persons on remand needing critical legal representation.
The project also includes general improvement of prison conditions and fundraising for the industrial village project by the Prison Service to equip prisoners, so they do not become a liability and security threat to society upon their release.
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