Some officers of the Ghana Prisons Service have complained publicly that there is no “proper welfare package” for prison officers despite paying welfare dues every month.

Frustrated, they told Media Without Borders in Ghana’s capital, Accra, that the government had failed to accord prison officers nationwide the same fair treatment their colleagues in the other security services enjoyed.

The Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery.

“Our welfare needs are not met. Prison officer, if unfortunately you are knocked down by a vehicle and you are maybe paralysed or your legs are broken, you and your family will suffer. No welfare package, proper welfare package, for you. No proper welfare package for prison officers. Let a prison officer die today, his or her family will suffer alone,” said one of the officers.

Prison officers on parade.

Another officer said: “For police officers, serving officers, if you die today, there is a Gh¢50,000 welfare package for your wife. And that package is not even part of the entitlement or emolument that is due the police officer. And as we speak, every month we pay welfare dues, deducted from the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department. But should I die today, there is no welfare package for my immediate family.”

Frustrated prison officers suffer “victimisation” for voicing neglected concerns

Media Without Borders is withholding the identities of the Accra-based prison officers because their colleagues who were suspected to have voiced a number of work-related concerns to this media outlet in the Upper East Region subsequently suffered what observers described as victimisation.

The Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery (in black) at the Navrongo Central Prisons.

As the public would recall, Media Without Borders revealed some critical issues within the Ghana Prisons Service in a story published on its site on Monday, 26 June 2023.

The publication featured some unnamed prison officers who disclosed that the Navrongo Central Prisons had been transporting inmates to court for trial with public means of transport because the facility did not have any vehicle.

The Navrongo Central Prisons

“Sometimes, we hire taxis. Sometimes, we wait at the mercy of police officers who are coming for their remand prisoners to join them.

“There is no single vehicle you can point at and say this is a Navrongo Central Prisons car, a bus, or whatever. If we are to come to court here, to bring prisoners, it’s a serious matter,” they said about two months ago.

They also spoke about officers being accommodated in huts only fit for animals, inmates being taken to hospitals on motorbikes when taken ill, officers armed with the G3 rifles Germany used during the Second World War and sold to poor countries after the war and prison guards supplied with uniform made of substandard material among other concerns.

One of the “outmoded” firearms being used at the Navrongo Central Prisons.

“Go to the Navrongo Central Prisons and see the dilapidated structures we are living in. We are staying in rented apartments we call barracks. They are huts that look like animal pens. That is where prison officers are staying with their families.

“The regional commander, who is ADP, that is Assistant Director of Prisons, currently cannot sometimes come for REGSEC meetings for lack of transportation. Just recently, a prisoner fell sick. Do you know how he was transported to the War Memorial Hospital? We transported that prisoner to the hospital with the motor-king (a motorised tricycle with a bucket) that was donated to the Navrongo Central Prisons by the Paramount Chief of Navrongo,” the prison guards stated.

The huts serving as barracks for prison officers in Navrongo, Upper East Region.

But rather than addressing the “genuine concerns” raised by the officers, some top government officials reportedly mounted pressure on the Ghana Prisons Service authorities to look for the officers who spoke to Media Without Borders and punish them for taking the long-neglected challenges of the service public.

Prison officers and inmates cramped in the bucket of a police pick-up headed for court in the Upper East Region.

Subsequently, a number of defenceless prison guards, who were suspected to have expressed those concerns, were arraigned before an internal panel in Navrongo for questioning. The outcome of the interrogation is yet unknown.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


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