Officers of the prison service have received training from the US government at the International Corrections Management Training Center, Colorado Springs in the USA.
The training by the US government follows the visit paid by the prison Council to the US ambassador to Ghana to brief him of project Efiase and to solicit their support.
As part of the training which was sponsored by the US government a total of 17 people were invited to the US, specifically the state of Colorado. The list comprise of the Chairman of the prisons council, five directors of the prison service and 11 other officers.
The training was also tailored towards participants from the eastern Caribbean and West Africa. Bahamas, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Topics treated include the classification of prisoners and how to monitor their growth and Issues on how to improve industries in the prison
As part of the week long training, the Chairman of the Prisons council was tasked to do a presentation on prison reforms in Africa, the Ghana project Efiase mode. The state of Ghana prisons, what the prisons council is doing to improve the conditions of the prison, launching a ten year development plan, soliciting for public and private partnership which put Ghana on the world map. The presentation was promising such that most of the officers from the Colorado state prisons asked questions to help come up with the way forward.
In an interview with yen.com.gh, Rev Wengam in sharing his experience noted that he was made to visit two prisons visited two prisons in the Colorado state and was amazed to how developed the prisons were in terms of infrastructure.
“Colorado state prison the industries earn 55 million dollars yearly for the state. The state makes the prisons prints the books and number plates. They have large farms and a big hospital just for the prisons. Each room has two inmates with a TV. The classifications at the Colorado prison help monitor improvement of prisoners and they score points on good behaviour”.
He added that the different prison compartments that challenge the prisoner to reform cannot be practiced in Ghana due to the congestion the prisons in Ghana experiences.
Rev. Wengam added that he extended an invitation to the Executive Director of Colorado state prison department to partner with the council on Project Efiase.
“I am thinking and hoping for a partnership, collaboration and how they can support us. I have invited them to Ghana to help acquaint themselves with the prisons and to share their success story for Ghanaians to see the need to support project Efiase”, he stressed.
Rev Wengam also debunked the assertion by many that the Nsawam prison is benefiting a lot from ongoing reforms as they appear to be receiving a lot of assistance. The Prisons council chair noted that the assertion is not true but rather Nsawma seems convenient for the many who want to do donation.
“This assertion is not true because the donations that come into Nsawam are more of personal donations. For instance we received cartons of fish from the first lady and the Ministry of fisheries that we distributed evenly to all the prisons. Also we received computer and distributed to all prisons in the ten regional prisons. Bags of rice received from Archbishop Duncan Williams were also distributed evenly. I have instructed the regional commanders to engage people in their various regions so they can be beneficiaries of the people in the area”.
Project Efiase is the Akan name for prison and it is a project aimed at changing on the phase of the Ghana prison. It aims at calling on corporate and engaging public, private partnership to change the prison. So far some Ghanaians have responded to the call and have made donations towards the project.