‘Remand prisoners, cause of over population in prisons’

The International Prisons Chap­lains Association (IPCA-Ghana), has held its seventh anniversary and general conference with a call on all to come on board to assist prison inmates.

The conference which took place in Kumasi, on Friday, November 24, was under the theme, “Telling our story: Bringing others on board.”

It drew participants from Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Guinea, while other members from Cameroon, La Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, participated online.

A former Attorney General, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, who chaired the confer­ence bemoaned the fact that many prisons in developing countries were faced with over population, a prob­lem that is compounded by remand prisoners.

He encouraged the chaplains to make useful case studies on how they could implement effective programmes in other correctional facilities.

He said this approach would allow them to learn from one another, identify areas for improvement, and adopt strategies to better serve the diverse spiritual needs of the in­mates.

He expressed the view that the conference would inspire and unite the chaplains towards providing the spiritual and other support to the inmates, so that lessons learnt through critical analysis and mean­ingful discussions would lead them to shape the future of chaplaincy within the Prisons system in their respective countries.

The President of IPCA, Rev Steve Mensah acknowledged the immense contributions the chaplains had made to uplift prison inmates spiritual­ly, physically and the provision of medical and educational needs of prisoners.

He indicated that IPCA Ghana has planned to establish a Post-Convic­tion Youth Centre, particularly for young ex-convicts where they would stay at least for a year, strengthen their skills to enable them to earn some income before they leave to settle in society.

The International Vice President of IPCA, Rev Jean Didier Mboyo, also the Head of IPCA, UN Team, called on society to change its posture of ignoring and abandoning Prison inmates, since circumstances could send anyone to prison.

Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso l, Omanhene Kyeame of the Asante Juaben Traditional Area, who was the Guest Speaker, said the conditions in the country’s prisons called for urgent support from all and sundry.

He commended IPCA for the An­ti-Crime talks organised in Senior High Schools to educate students on issues which could send them to jail.

IPCA members present included, Deaconess Dr Mrs Angela Mensah, Rev Dr Evans Ekanem, Rev Atta Bilson, Mrs Gifty Mussey Azeko, Rev Nicholas Awuah- Sarpong, Rev Philip Ahodokpo and Pastor Adjei Sowah.

By Raymond Kyekye

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