The authorities of the Kumasi Central Prison have expressed fear of an imminent outbreak of tuberculosis among the inmates.
They said some of the inmates were already suffering from the disease and if care was not taken, the entire prison population of 1,835 would be infected with the deadly disease. This was Kunbuor when the Minister of the Interior, Dr Benjamin paid a working visit to the prison as part of his tour of the Ashanti Region.
Chief Officer of the Kumasi Central Prison Joseph Aikins told the Minister that, apart from the lack of medical supplies at the prison’s infirmaries, there was a huge problem of getting the inmates for treatment of the disease,(tuberculosis) at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, citing the lack of respect for the inmates and delay in attending to them, among others.
He, therefore, appealed to the government to do all it could to provide a major hospital where prisoners would be given serious attention.
The Ashanti Regional Commander of the Prison, Ackom Gyadu Mensah, also noted with concern the inmates’ daily feeding rate of 60 pesewas each which he said was woefully inadequate and hoped that government would do something about it.
He was worried that the Prison Service did not have any security van to convey inmates to hospital or the courts saying there was only one pick-up and that posed a security threat and appealed to the government for assistance.
On camp prisons, the Deputy Director of Prisons noted the lack of perimeter fencing which is a big challenge to the Service saying, ‘’it is only the grace of the creator that keeps the inmates there without any escape,” did appealed to government and other non-governmental organisations to assist the services to fence the camps.
Dr Kunbuor stressed government’s determination to reduce overcrowding in the country’s prisons and said the Ankaful prison would soon be completed for some prisoners to be transferred there.
He said there was the need to make the prisons very comfortable ‘’because we, politicians are the ones very close to them” a comment that attracted a lot of laughter.
The Interior Minister commended the service for ensuring that there were no extreme casualties in the prison in the face of those constraints.
He touched on the ‘Justice-for-All-Programme and hoped that remand prisoners would be sufficiently released to reduce overcrowding in the prisons.