The prison service of any country is an integral part of the country’s system. This is the same with Ghana as the prison system performs major functions within the country’s judicial system. As a Ghanaian, it is imperative that you have an idea of the Prison system and how it works.
There are 43 prisons in Ghana and they are of different categories. The number covers the following:
- 14 local prisons
- 7 female prisons
- 1 juvenile facility
- 11 open camp prisons
- 1 special facility
- 7 central prisons
- 1 maximum security prison
- 1 medium security prison
It is ironic that despite this humongous number of prisons, there is still a major problem encountered by the Ghanaian prison system. This problem is that of congestion and it is one that is eating up the system.
Before going ahead with the list of prisons in Ghana it is important to get some background information about the overseeing body of all the prisons in Ghana.
The Ghana Prisons Service
If you have stayed in Ghana for a while then you must have about the Ghana Prisons Service. It is the body saddled with the responsibility of handling the welfare of prisoners in Ghana. It also ensures their safe custody as well as their rehabilitation, reformation, etc.
The body is administratively under the Ministry of Interior and it performs several functions based on its current legislative mandate. Before the current legislative mandate, there were six other mandates. These are the different Legislative Mandates that have governed the Ghanaian Prisons Service to date.
- Prison Regulations 1958 (L.I. 412).
- Prison Standing Orders 1960.
- Prison (Amendment) Regulation 1970 (L.I. 648).
- Prisons (Declaration of Prisons) Instrument 1971 (E.I. 22)
- Prisons Service Decree, 1972 NRCD 46.
- Ghana Prisons Service Scheme of Service Administration (1991).
- The 1992 Constitution of Ghana. This is the current legislative mandate of the Ghana Prisons Service.
Functions of the Ghana Prisons Service
The body performs the following functions on behalf of the Ghanaian government:
- To ensure that enjoy safe custody and their sentences are executed in the most humane conditions.
- To ensure that prisoners enjoy great welfare. They achieve this by protecting prisoners’ rights, provision of good health, and other necessary facilities and amenities.
- To offer top-notch rehabilitation and reformative measures to prisoners so they come out as better people. To this end, they provide training, moral education, among others to the prisoners in the best conditions possible.
List of prisons in Ghana
The standard number of prisoners a prison should accommodate as authorized by the Ghana Prisons Service is 10,000 inmates. It has, however, been noticed that most of the prisons hold as many as 15,000 constituting a huge overcrowding problem.
We have brought you a list of the famous prisons in Ghana below.
Ankaful Maximum Security Prison.
This prison plays host to some of the high profile criminals in the country and it is set in Cape Coast. It was designed using international standards for maximum security prisons. It has a capacity of holding 2,000 inmates.
It was designed with several facilities installed. Some of these include a multipurpose sports field, a health care center, dormitories, and a modern admin block. The prison is yet to be completed but there is already a plan for an ultramodern training center where inmates will be equipped with necessary skills.
Kumasi Central Prison
This is probably one of the oldest prison facilities in Ghana. It was established after the European colonization of the Ashanti Region in the earlier part of the 19th century. Over the years, the facility has been renovated and expanded to cater for more inmates from all over Ghana.
Despite the expansion, there is still a huge problem of congestion in this prison. Added to this is the dilapidated state of the cells. This is why the Central Government of Ghana is setting plans in motion for the reconstruction of the cells and making them fit modern standards.
Nwasam Female Medium Security Prison
This prison was designed basically to accommodate female inmates and it is one of the biggest in the country serving that purpose. It occupies a 5.16-acre area. It was established in 1973 with the aim of providing safe custody, reformation, and rehabilitation to female criminals in Ghana.
The prison facility is unique in that it provides educational services to its inmates. The inmates are even allowed to participate in the national examinations organized for regular Ghanaian students annually.
Borstal Institute for Juveniles
This is a senior correctional center and it stands out as about the largest in the country. The correctional facility is focused on the custody and rehabilitation of juveniles. Juveniles are minors younger than the age of 18 who have been taken in for engaging in criminal activities.
This facility focuses on the reforming and rehabilitating these juveniles so that they can return to society as better people. To achieve this, the facility provides several pieces of training and other educational programs to these children.
Tamale Central Prison
This facility, which is located somewhere in the Tamale Township, has the capacity to house a thousand inmates. The population here has increased considerably over the years making the facility overcrowded.
It is funny that the facility was designed with the aim of decongesting other overcrowded Ghanaian prisons. Now it has followed suit as one of the most congested in the country. Several amenities and facilities were incorporated into the design of this correctional facility.
James Fort Prison
This is one of the oldest prison facilities in Ghana. It was established in the 16th century by the British. At the time was a place created to house slaves. Today the prison has been converted into a museum and is one of the major tourist attractions in Ghana.
In conclusion, the Ghanaian Prisons Service is working in tandem with the Ghanaian government to ensure that the problems faced by the prison system are solved. Very soon these prisons would be better places, achieving the exact purpose for which they were established.
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