President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has implored Ghanaians to welcome ex-convicts and ensure that they are not stigmatised and discriminated against but fully re-integrated into society.
The President said he was convinced that ex-convicts, would surely live in line with acceptable social norms and values if society took responsibility, receive and worked with them.
President Akufo-Addo made the call at the Graduation Parade of Officer Cadet Course intake 29 of the Ghana Prisons Service at the Prisons Officers Training School in Accra.
The 189 graduating cadets compromises 127 men and 71 women of varied professional backgrounds. The new entrants are the third batch to benefit from the government’s recruitment drive in the last four years to enhance the human capacity base of the Service.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the Prison Service has to ensure that convicts returned to their communities well-reformed and rehabilitated, while the larger society takes the responsibility to welcome and work with them “so they do not become repeat offenders.”
He said the government was doubling efforts to address the funding challenges of the Prisons Service in the face of society’s continuous expectation of the correctional institution to discharge completely changed and reformed ex-convicts.
The government, President Akufo-Addo stated, would ensure that the Prison Service was provided with the requisite support to empower and train prisoners to reduce the number of inmates in custodial centres across the country.
The President assured that the government would continue to work closely with the Service to develop the capacity of officers to enable them to perform in accordance with best international standards.
“I remain committed to granting periodic amnesty to deserving inmates upon the advice of the Council of State,” he said, adding that the government would not relent in efforts to see to the completion of a remand prison at Nsawam to ease the pressure on Minimum Security Prison.
Currently, the project is at 70 per cent complete and is expected to house inmates by the end of the year.
To the new officers, President Akufo-Addo charged them to continue to uphold the ideals of the Service, adding: “as new senior officers, you must bring meaning to your work and exhibit the competence required for good stewardship.
“Your call has come at a time when much is expected of the Prison Service both in its domestic and international obligations…It should not be lost on you that your call is one of the trust reposed in you.
“Contemporary correctional management does not just focus on punishing prisoners, condemning and stigmatising them with painful treatment methods, but rather on repairing their humanity and helping to restore their God-given talents in line with acceptable international standards,” he said.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD