The Public Relations Officer for the Ghana Prison Service, Superintendent Courage Atsem, has stressed that safety measures have been employed to prevent the possible transmission of coronavirus from new inmates to those who are already facing their jail term in prison.
Supt. Courage Atsem stated that new admissions are screened and go through the 14-day mandatory isolation period before they join other inmates.
In an interview with GhanaWeb, Supt. Atsem said, “We have all new admissions screened for COVID-19 and thereafter quarantined for 14 days. That has been the practice, for now, it has been challenging because of the prisons are congested therefore finding the space for isolation was a bit of a challenge.”
Mr. Atsem again disclosed that the prison administration has created 7 new prison facilities across the country to admit new prisoners in this time when Ghana is battling with the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The prison administration in conjunction with other players in the Criminal Justice System has come out with seven selected prisons purposely for new admissions, by this arrangement we might be minimizing the risk of transmitting the virus to a larger number of inmates,” he reiterated.
With overcrowding and poor ventilation being a major challenge in some prisons, there are fears of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases behind bars. Many have called on the government to consider a short-term plan to reduce the number of inmates in each cell.
Speaking on the plans to address the issue of overcrowding Supt. Courage Atsem said that, “pardon is one of the ways to decongest prisons, it is the prerogative of the president, so anytime he decides to do it. It will be a welcome development. They are other measures too except that those are rather for medium to long-term purposes.”
Meanwhile, data provided by the Ghana Prison Service (GPS) revealed that the total number of inmates across all prisons in Ghana stood at 13,882 as of June 15, 2020.
New data available to GhanaWeb disclosed that three inmates have so far tested positive for coronavirus with two fully recovered. However, the third patient is currently receiving treatment at an isolation center.
Also, the GPS added that all six Prison Officers whose test results came out positive have recovered.Source: www.ghanaweb.com