Inmates at the Akuse Prisons in the Eastern Region are not properly social distancing and there is a lack of enforcement of distancing as the Coronavirus continues to spread in the country, authorities at the facility have said.
DSP Henry Darko in charge of reception duties speaking with newsmen at the facility during the presentation of COVID-19 relief items by the Manya Krobo COVID-19 emergency fund on Saturday, June 13, 2020, to the prisons said the protocol regarded as one of the most effective means of controlling the spread of the virus was non-existent.
Attributing the development to the overcrowded situation in the yard, the officer said the facility built to hold sixty inmates currently holds a hundred and ninety-six (196), a situation hampering the enforcement of social distancing.
“Inside the prisons, social distancing is out. The maximum number of inmates for the facility built over a hundred years, we have almost doubled it now because we are having a hundred plus,” said the DSP.
Asked if the government had equipped the prison facility with COVID-19 items for use by the prisons, the Deputy Superintendent of Prisons said the prisons had only received 2 veronica buckets for use by the 196 inmates and over 100 officers which he described as woefully inadequate.
“All we received are two veronica buckets and a few items and if you juxtapose that against the number of officers and inmates, [that is woefully inadequate],” he lamented. “It is like a drop in the ocean.”
He however said the prisons were taking proactive measures including regular handwashing, taking of temperatures, ensuring social distancing between inmates and visitors, and the provision of face masks to ensure that it strictly followed the protocols.
The Manya Krobo COVID-19 emergency fund at separate ceremonies donated PPEs and some relief items to the security services in the Lower Manya Krobo municipality and Upper Manya Krobo district as part of efforts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The beneficiaries are the Akuse Prisons, Akuse Police Command, Odumasi Police Command, the BNI, and Immigration Services in the two districts.
Items such as packs of surgical masks, boxes of hand sanitizers, gallons of liquid soap, and packs of bottled were presented with the Akuse Prisons receiving a thermometer gun in addition.
Token fuel coupons worth Ghc 1000 each was presented to the Akuse Prisons, Akuse, Odumasi, and Asesewa Police Commands while Ghc 500 of coupons each was also presented to the Immigration Service and Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) to facilitate their operations.
Co-chair of the Manya Krobo COVID-19 Emergency Fund, Nene Kwesi Detse I identified the security services as a critical sector that must be assisted to effectively fight against the pandemic.
The chairman who identified the prisons as vulnerable to the pandemic said though other security services were regularly assisted in the wake of the outbreak, the prison service had been “thrown away with the bathwater.”
He maintained that the fund was doing well as kind-hearted individuals continued to donate but appealed to other kind-hearted organizations and individuals to continue to support the fund to enable it to support its target groups.
Receiving the items on behalf of the various commands, Inspector Emmanuel Aryeetey who received the items on behalf of the Akuse Police Commander, Superintendent Winfred Asare Nyarko, Odumase Police Commander, DSP Thomas Yaw Agbanyo and Supt. John Yeboah of the Asesewa Police Command unanimously expressed their profound appreciation to the management of the COVID-19 emergency fund and promised to put the items to judicious use.
Police officers are exposed to the risk of infection as high numbers of people flock to the various police stations on a daily basis and the donation of the items is expected to help them secure their safety.
Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Immigration Commander, Supt. Emelia A. Adjei who received the items on behalf of the immigration service appealed for more COVID-19 items to safeguard its personnel and a vehicle to assist it in its operations.