THE PRISONS SERVICE COUNCIL
The Prisons Service Council is the creation of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana and established by Article 206 of the Constitution. Six Councils have so far been inaugurated since the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution.
FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNCIL
Section 208 of the Constitution mandates of the Council as follows:
(1) The Prisons Service Council shall advise the President on matters of policy relating to the organisation and maintenance of the prison system in Ghana including the role of the Prisons Service, prisons budgeting and finance, administration and the promotion of officers above the rank of Assistant Director of Prisons.
(2) The Prisons Service Council may, with the prior approval of the President, by constitutional instrument, make regulations for the performance of its functions under this Constitution or any other law and for the effective and efficient administration of prisons and the Prisons Service.
(3) Regulations made under clause (2) of this article shall include provisions relating to -
(a) the control and administration of prisons and the Prisons Service;
(b) the ranks of officers and men of the Prisons Service, the members of each rank and the use of uniforms by the members;
(c) the conditions of Service including those relating to the enrolment, salaries, pensions,gratuities and other allowances of officers and men;
(d) The authority and powers of command of the officers and men of the Prisons Service;
(e) the delegation to other persons of powers to discipline persons and the conditions subject to which delegations may be made;
(f) the parole system and the periodic review of the conditions of prisoners and all other persons in legal custody at intervals of not more than one year;
(g) the conditions under which persons may be admitted into prisons;
(h) the making of reports of unjustified treatment of, and cruelty to, prisoners and persons in legal custody and the manner in which the reports should be dealt with;
(i) the appointment and composition of welfare committees for prisoners and discharged prisoners and other persons released from legal custody;
(j) ready access by lawyers to prisoners and other persons in legal custody;
(k) such measures, generally as will ensure the humane treatment and welfare of prisoners and other persons in legal custody, including the provision of literature and writing material.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE PRISONS SERVICE COUNCIL
By Article 206 of the 1992 Constitution, membership of the Council is as follows:
PRISONS SERVICE COUNCIL LAUNCHES PROJECT ‘EFIASE’
As a component of the Criminal Justice System of the Republic of Ghana, the Prisons Service is mandated to:
The Prisons Service has, over the years, been grappling with a number of challenges that affect the smooth-running of prison facilities across the country. Some of the setbacks include inmates’ overcrowding, lack of adequate resources for infrastructural expansion, lack of healthcare facilities, inadequate tools and obsolete equipment for inmates’ rehabilitation.
With hindsight from the above, the Prisons Service Council has launched a long-term project dubbed: ‘Efiase’. The ‘Efiase’ Project is an initiative of the Council led by its Chairman, Rev. Dr. Stephen Wengam, to support the ten-year strategic development plan of the Ghana Prisons Service.
Essentially, the project is aimed at raising funds from corporate Ghana, non-governmental organisations, private institutions/companies, philanthropists, and ordinary Ghanaians to improve the condition of prisons nationwide.
The first phase of the launch is slated for Friday, 26th June, 2015, at the State House Banquet Hall where His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama, has assured to grace the occasion as Guest of Honour. Other dignitaries to be invited to the ‘Efiase’ launch include the Chief Justice, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Minister of Interior, and various “prison ambassadors” who will be outdoored at the launch.
It must be emphasised that the second phase of the launch is scheduled to take place in Kumasi, Ashanti Region. The dates, venue and other relevant details will be communicated in due course.
Consequently, the Prisons Service Council wishes to invite corporate institutions, companies, and high profile personalities to the launch, so as to donate in support of a worthy cause. This fundraising project has become necessary owing to the fact the government, alone, cannot adequately meet the needs of the 43 various prison establishments.
In spite of the numerous challenges the Ghana Prisons is faced with, the Service can boast a few achievements and/ or successes chalked over the years, which include the production of smocks, baskets, foot wares, kente cloths, local carpets, local soap, and other artifacts.
It worth mentioning that most of the prison inmates who sat for the BECE and WASSCE in the Nsawam Medium Prison, Kumasi Central Prison, Kumasi Female Prison, Wa Central Prison, and other prisons obtained 100% pass. Other remarkable achievements comprised of agricultural activities, small-scale sowing, manufacturing of furniture, construction, beads-making, and a few more.
Subsequently, the Prisons Service Council is appealing to the donor community, financial institutions, the mass media, the business community, embassies/ consulates, religious bodies (faith-based organization), mining industries, oil companies, and philanthropists to come to the aid of the prisons, either, in cash or in kind.
This will go a long way to change the image of the Service as a centre of reformation as well as improve inmates’ rehabilitation programmes nationwide.
After the fundraising, a comprehensive audit report will be forwarded to every sponsor or supporter. Furthermore, the Planning Committee of ‘Efiase’ will ensure that the contributions of major sponsors are duly acknowledged.
Prisons were designed to serve the interest of society, and security is everybody’s business. As a matter of fact, the Ghanaian populace will hold in high esteem every institution that supports this laudable project, especially for demonstrating a high sense of corporate social responsibility aimed at transforming prisoners prior to their successful re-integration into society.