The Ghana Prisons Service (GPS) has set up a Unit to train and breed sniffer dogs to help detect contraband goods in the country’s prisons.
The new K9 unit of the Service would aid the manual search for mobile phones, narcotic drugs, money and alcohol, among others, being smuggled to inmates in the prisons.
The Public Relations Officer of the GPS, Chief Superintendent of Prisons Vitalis A-iyeh disclosed this to the in Accra on Tuesday.
He said with no scanners at the prisons, personnel on duty had to be extra vigilant and that the introduction of the Unit would help boost their operations.
Chief Supt A-iyeh said personnel were also being trained to search for physical items on visitors and inmates.
He said the GPS recorded 14,834 inmates at the country’s prisons last year comprising 12,845 males,129 females, 250juveniles, life sentence 85, condemn 172 and foreigners 943.
The Prisons PRO stated that the leading offences were stealing representing 39per cent, unlawful entry 10 per cent, and causing damage to either properties or human beings 7 per cent.
He said there was currently no problem with remand prison population due to the introduction of the Justice for all Programme, the case tracking system adopted by all the security agencies and paralegal officers at the prisons Service who see to cases of inmates and help them go to Court.
Touching on congestion at the Prisons, he said Camp Prisons constructed by the Church of Pentecost at Ejura in the Ashanti and Nsawam in the Eastern Region were both operational and had helped decongest the prisons.
Additional Damongo camp prison in the Savannah Region is 90 per cent complete.
He mentioned feeding as a major challenge of the Service, adding that an amount of GH¢1.80 pesewas spent on an inmate for three square meals was woeful inadequate.
The PRO stated that the GPS had Agriculture stations where they cultivated rice, maize and oil to supplement what government gave to them for feeding.
He said philanthropists, churches, and organisations as well as individual also supported GPS through donations.
“I would like to commend our donors for the kind gesture and called for more of such collaborations to help us in our activities,” he added.
On re-integration of ex-convicts, the Prisons PRO said inmates were trained in agriculture, poultry, tie and dye, smock and kente weaving, adding that the problem was startup capital and tools for them to operate.
“The inmates were trained in formal education as well,” he added.
He urged the public to help in the re-integration of ex-convicts into the society saying that “family members, loved ones and the society should not abandoned them but help in their re-integration into the society.”
He said if society failed to accept them back they go back to the crimes which would escalate.
Mr A-iyeh stated that most of the inmates were from broken homes and ended up on the streets and called on stakeholders to address issues of streetism in the country.
The Prisons PRO called for continuous collaboration from all key stakeholders to help them achieve their goals as a Service.
He assured of the GPS continuous efforts in the maintenance of internal security by maintaining an efficient, humane, and safe reformatory penal system operated within the laws of Ghana.