Congestion in Ghana’s prisons degenerated
By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Ghanadot
Accra, Aug 14, Ghanadot -
The spate of congestion in Ghana's prisons has
degenerated last year. This is due to the increasing prison
population, disclosed by the 2008 annual report of the Ghana
Prisons Service (GPS).
The increasing prison population for 2008 was 5,170,840 as
against the 2007 figure of 4,867,366, representing an
increase of 5.9 per cent with an average daily lock-up of
The report cited a high incidence of re-offending among
ex-convicts as a contributory factor to the increasing
prisoner population. Of the 9,377 convicted prisoners
admitted in 2008, a total of 1,806 of them, representing
19.3 per cent, had been previously convicted.
It said 8,315 or 88.7 per Gent of convicts admitted during
the year aged between 18 and 45.
The youthful nature of the prison population is highlighted
in the report in relation to overcrowding with an emphasis
on the need to expand facilities for more effective
education and training of the inmates to make them
According to the report, the most frequent offence committed
by prisoners in 2008 was stealing, with an increase from
3,155 in 2007 to 4,263 in 2008.
The report reveals that the region with the highest
occurrence of stealing offences in 2008 continued to be the
Ashanti Region, with 1,518 convictions. The Eastern Region
was second with 967 cases, followed by Western Region, 579;
Central Region, 439; Brong Ahafo, 276; Volta, 191; Upper
West, 99; Upper East, 90;--Northern, 79 and Greater Accra
The number of prisoners held for abetment of crime more than
doubled from 56 in 2007 to 119 in 2008. In both 2007 and
2008, the second most frequent offence committed was robbery
but 2008 saw a decrease in cases from 792 in 2007 to 508.
A total of 131 people were convicted for murder and 11
imprisoned for manslaughter. Rape convicts numbered 79 with
defilement recording 445 convicts.
Some 462 people were sentenced for possession of narcotic
drugs, with 25 jailed for possessing firearms. A total of
174 people were jailed for driving offences.
Those convicted for assault/indecent assault numbered 287,
causing damage/causing harm, 406; and threatening 142.
Fraud cases totalled 339 while conspiracy recorded 412
convicts. There was also a significant decrease in unlawful
entry from 624 in 2007 to 330 in 2008.
Sixteen prisoners who escaped from custody were re-arrested
and sentenced, while 45 people who could not settle their
debts were also jailed and 42 persons convicted for
The report discloses that
only one person was convicted in the Upper West Region for
contempt of court, while nobody was convicted for child
stealing, while other offences were 1,600.
Given the youthful age (18-45) of the majority of prisoners,
the report called for "a greater, level of commitment to the
effective reintegration of ex-convicts into society", and
indicated that projects had been "hampered by lack of
The Director-General of Prisons, William Kwadwo Asiedu, was
quoted as mentioning "dwindling budgetary allocation;
increasing prison population, lack of decent anti adequate
staff accommodation and the passiveness of society to the
welfare of prisoners and its resentment towards ex-convicts"
as the key challenges confronting the Prisons Service.
He therefore called on the government, civil
society organizations and corporate bodies and individuals
to come to the aid of the service.