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General News of Sunday, 6 December 2015

Source: Tv3network.com

‘Age-cheating’ hits prisoners as juveniles accuse officers

Some juveniles at the Navrongo Central Prison are accusing officers of altering their ages to make them appear eligible for prison.

According to the laws of Ghana, prisoners under 18 years are to be kept at the Senior Correctional Center. They are kept in prisons only temporarily to be transported to the borstal home in Accra.

But speaking to TV3’s Upper East Region reporter on Friday, some juveniles who are inmates at the Navrongo prison said their ages were “inflated unlawfully” by the wardens to keep them there.

Currently, the Navrongo Central Prison has about 188 prisoners with 42 on remand and approximately 129 have been convicted. About 17 are still on trial while there are 7 foreigners.

The oldest is 44 years while the youngest, who spoke on anonymity, said he is less than 17 but has been registered as an 18-year-old.

This came to light when the Minister of Interior and Navrongo Central Member of Parliament Mark Owen Woyongo donated a 32-seater TATA bus to the prison.

The prison is hugely under-resourced, according to TV3's Rabiu Tanko Mohammed.
But Mr Woyongo thanked wardens fro their commitment and mentioned the efforts by government in transforming the Prison Service and making it easier for prisoners to be psychologically and mentally transformed.

He therefore said the provision of the bus is the beginning of good things to come and urged private investors to help solve these challenges in the Prison Service.

The Upper East Regional Prisons Officer, Henry Dansah, thanked the Interior Minister for coming to their aid. According to him, prisoners are sometimes carried in taxis to hospital and court for trials.

He highlighted some of the challenges that need immediate attention in the prisons. He has assured the minister of judicious use of the vehicle.