General News of Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Koforidua, Feb. 20, GNA - Reverend Adamah Okai, Chaplain-General of Ghana Prisons Service, has appealed to the public to patronize products made by prison inmates to help support the reformatory process of the service.
He said as part of its mandate to reform prisoners to fit into society, the Prison Service was taking inmates through trade apprenticeships such as welding, weaving, carpentry, decoration and construction but their products were not being utilized. Addressing pastors and elders of East Ghana Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church on Prison Ministry at a workshop in Koforidua on Wednesday, Rev. Okai appealed to churches to step up their support to the inmates by patronizing their products. He noted that due to stigma attached to prisoners, it was difficult for the public to associate with anything good from the inmates hence the shunning of their products and urged society to change that negative attitude.
Rev. Okai said re-integration of ex-convicts into society had remained a major challenge of the Service and called on churches and other institutions to help such people to live meaningful lives for the benefit of society.
He said authorities of the Service were currently training officers to handle the re-integration of prisoners into society but it was unfortunate that most ex-convicts had returned to the prison for lack of support from society.
Rev. Okai said as part of its reforms, the Service had instituted measures to ensure every prisoner learnt a trade to be self-reliant after serving the sentence.
Assistant Commissioner of Police and Deputy Eastern Regional Police Commander, David Ampabene said the security services were playing a vital role in the development of the nation and must be supported by the public.
He said despite its significant role, it lacked resources and other logistics such as barracks and called for assistance because the government alone could not provide all the needs of the service. ACP Ampabene called on the pastors to pray for the security services especially the police to be able to unravel the mystery behind killings and other crimes that had hit parts of the region recently. Pastor Oteng Asare, Chaplain of East Ghana Conference of SDA, said the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of the church in handling the prison ministry effectively since there were about five prison centres in the region.