April 14, 2013

Nana Ato Arthur Member of Parliament (MP) for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abram (KEEA) constituency, on Friday advocated the establishment of a college to enroll prison inmates in the country.

He said such a college would enable students serving jail terms to continue with their education to improve upon their knowledge and skills which would enhance their lives outside the prison.

Dr. Arthur said this on Friday at the inauguration of a newly constructed mosque at the Ankaful Main Camp Prison at Ankaful near Elmina, to serve as a place of worship for Muslims held in prison.

The mosque, which has a seating capacity of about 200, was built by the authorities of the Prisons with sponsorship from Sheikh Mustapha Ibrahim of Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Services (ICODEHS).

Dr Arthur promised to introduce the idea in Parliament and said if it was accepted he would personally champion its establishment.

Madam Matilda Baffour-Awuah, Acting Director General of Prisons Service, said the new vision of the Service was to foster private and public partnership – a phenomenon she believed would give it the advantage to enter into strategic partnerships.

She said the Service would focus on areas like agriculture and industries where there abound a lot of benefits, including the acquisition of knowledge and skills by the inmates and generation of revenues to expand the frontiers of their reformation and rehabilitation mandate.

Madam Baffour-Awuah commended Sheikh Ibrahim for the gesture and pointed out that the Prison Service had always cherished the partnership with religious bodies, which she noted was the area of bringing spiritual upliftment and hope to the prison inmates since “through religion one could see change that stems from the heart”.

She encouraged the inmates and others, who would be worshiping in the mosque, to hold the place with the highest of reverence and commitment to practice true worship and urged the inmates to lend themselves to the instructions of their religious’ leaders and officers so that they would be well prepared for re-entry into society upon their release.

Mr. Leopold Kwame Amoah Ansah, Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP) Officer In-charge of the Prisons, called on the public to see prison inmates just like everyone else outside the walls of the prison and that prisoners were not the irretrievable and vicious elements people perceived them to be.

He said there was a lot of hope in the Service and that if the society gave it the necessary support and resources to support its educational and vocational training programmes, it would be able to impact positively on the inmates’ skills and knowledge.

Mr. Ansah noted that if the inmates were given the requisite skills and knowledge, it would help them to become independent, resettled and get reintegrated into the society and contribute meaningfully towards national development.

He said it was the hope of the Service that the inmates committed themselves faithfully to the significance and purpose of the mosque and allowed the will of Allah to prevail so that they would have a better life.

Mr. Ansah appealed to Sheikh Ibrahim to assist the Prison Camp to dig a borehole to help address the water supply needs of the Ankaful prisons.

Sheik Ibrahim unveiled the plague and dedicated the mosque to the Almighty Allah.