The Ghana Prisons Service has been urged to devise innovative ways of reforming convicts.
Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister who gave the advice at the inauguration of the Regional Prisons Committee in Accra yesterday, said most convicts come out of prisons far more hardened and commit crimes with impunity.
Nii Ashietey said when convicts finished serving their sentences they live in communities and reminded prison officers that “If you do not see to it that these convicts reform whilst serving their sentences, we will definitely be at the receiving end of their vices”.
The Minster also appealed to families of ex-convicts and the general public not to reject them but help in reforming and integrating them back into the society.
The eight member committee was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the prisons are turned into a correction and reform centres and thereby assist inmates to realise their full potential through skills training and education.
The committee members include the Regional Minister, who is the chairman, Merley Wood from the Attorney General’s Department, Mustapha Obeng from the Ghana Muslim Mission and Ebenezer Amartefio from the Department of Social Welfare.
Other members are Al-Hassan K. Legibo from the Prisons Service, Mr. Frank Davies from the Ghana Bar Association, Dr. Frank Owusu-Sekyere from the Ghana Medical Association and Dr. Edward Antwi, the Deputy Director of Public Health Services.
Mr. Ashietey stressed the need for the committee members to be firm, efficient, friendly and courteous.
He reminded them that they are to advise the Prisons Council and the Regional Coordinating Council on matters relating to administration and internal security.
Other duties of the committee include advising on the state and condition of cells and prisons in the region, ensuring proper human treatment and welfare of convicts and give recommendations on the conditions of security agencies in the region.
Mr Ashietey further advised the members to exhibit a high sense of commitment, dedication and professionalism to enable the nation to resolve very challenging situations such as chieftaincy disputes, defilement and jail breaks.
Merley Wood, a member of the committee on behalf of the members assured the Regional Minister of the commitment and dedication to their charge.
She also promised that the members would bring their experiences and expertise to bear on their work.