Treat Prison Inmates With Dignity - CHRAJ

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has called for adequate protection of the fundamental human rights of prison inmates as they deserve to be treated with self-respect.

The Commission said prison inmates should not be given inhumane and degrading treatment simply because they found themselves in reformatories, adding that they were ‘humans’ and should be treated with dignity.

Mr Sidik Ubeidu, the Upper West Regional Director of CHRAJ, said this in Wa when he presented assorted items including detergents, toiletries, brooms and mops valued at about GHC 4,000.00 to the Ghana Prison Service and the Police Service in Wa.

The presentation, which coincided with the International Day of Human Rights, celebrated globally every year on 10th December, was to help alleviate the plight of the inmates.

Government allocates GHC1.80 as feeding for each inmate per day but CHRAJ views the amount as woefully inadequate, he said, and urged the Government to review the amount upward.

Mr Ubeidu said CHRAJ was working to ensure prison inmates received better treatment including good food and clean environment, which were prerequisite to achieving the needed correction for inmates after serving their sentences.

He appealed to judges to stop what he called “unnecessary remanding” to help reduce overcrowding in the prisons.

CHRAJ is mandated by law to receive and investigate complaints on human rights violation and to arbitrate justice.
In line with this, Mr Ubeidu asked the Paralegal Officer at the Wa Prison to furnish CHRAJ office with the names of remand prisoners who did not have lawyers for the Commission to help them seek justice.

He entreated benevolent individuals and organisations to go to the aid of the inmates to help them have comfortable lives as government alone could not solve all their problems.

The Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP) Christopher Nyamedi, the Upper West Regional Commander of the Ghana Prison Service, said the Regional Prison was designed to house about 100 inmates but currently had about 170.

“We cannot reject prisoners brought to us with valid warrant, which is causing the overcrowding,” he said, and that his outfit would organise transfers for the prisoners to help reduce congestion.

Some inmates raised concerns about combining both remand and convicted prisoners in one cell, poor quality of food and poor sanitation, in addition to lack of attention from relatives.

They appealed to stakeholders to help change the situation.