COVID-19; Why prisoners cannot be released despite wide spread.


The Ghana Prisons Service declared that it does not have the mandate to free prisoners in spite of the coronavirus outbreak.

The only one with that power is President Nana Akufo-Addo who can permit amnesty.

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The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Prison Service, DSP Daniel Machator, unveiled this on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme, Wednesday.

His explanation was in reaction to a call by a human rights lawyer on the government to release the prisoners to stop any further spread of the virus.

Lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu in a statement said our prisons are overpopulated and this puts all inmates at risk incase one of them gets infected by the deadly virus.

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However, DSP Machator said even though his call is legitimate, the law does not mandate them to exercise that authority.

As an immediate preventive measure, he said sanitisers and running water are provided for use at the gate and vantage points inside prisons, wearing of face masks by prison staff and visitors, quarantining and referral of suspected cases to appropriate health facilities among others.

More so, the Prison Service Deputy PRO said they will be very excited if some of the prisoners can be released. This is due to the fact that the place is so much congested.

He explained that correctional facilities across the country remain populated and poorly designed to prevent the rapid and widespread of this virus.

“We justify locking people up to protect public safety yet public safety will be at even greater peril if we fail to mitigate risks associated with confining too many people in prisons during a pandemic,” DSP Machator remarked.

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