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General News of Friday, 8 September 2017

Source: GNA

Prisons Service struggling with GHC43m debt

The Ghana Prisons Service has expressed concern over its inability to pay medical bills, inmates ration bills, and utilities due to the delay in release of funds, leading to total debt of over GH¢43.165 million.

Currently, the service is in arrears for 11 months of the year 2016 of prisoners ration bills of over GH¢9.596 million, a medical bill of GH¢3.173 million, and utilities GH¢12.885 million in addition to other debts.

The Chief Budget Officer of the Ghana Prisons Service, Supt. George Ankamah, made this known at the Ministry of the Interior 2017 mid-year review meeting in Accra on Thursday.

Superintendent Ankamah said the current feeding fee of GH¢1.80 per prisoner a day is woefully inadequate.

“We anticipate that the 11 months of prisoners ration bills in arrears would be released before the end of the year and the budgetary releases would be increased substantially to meet the needs of the service in order to enable it execute its mandate efficiently.”

The Director said the Service intends to modernize its agriculture sector to supplement government budgetary provision.

He said the service would be a pursuing strategic rebranding policy in order to give the service a positive image by running efficient industry programmes to enhance skill training in order to help reform and rehabilitate them.

“The Service will embark on vigorous capacity building programmes for categories of staff to enable them cope with modern trends in correction management. It also intends to commit more funding to the welfare needs of inmates to conform to the United Nations Minimum Standards for the treatment of prisoners,” he said.

He revealed that the Service has also received a commencement certificate of GH¢200,000 for the procurement of multi-purpose photocopying machines and building materials for the continuation of its headquarters extension project.

In the bid to decongest the Prisons, Superintendent Ankamah said the service has submitted a non-custodial sentencing Bill to Parliament.

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