He emphasized that if the society took responsibility, welcomed and worked with ex-convicts, it would strengthen their resolve to live in line with acceptable social norms and values.
The President made the call at the Graduation Parade for Officer Cadet Course Intake 29 of the Ghana Prisons Service at the Prisons Officers Training School in Accra.
The 189 graduating cadets compromised 127 men and 71 women of varied professional background. The new entrants are the third batch to benefit from the government’s recruitment drive in the last four years to enhance the human capacity base of the Service.
President Akufo-Addo noted that in as much as the Prison Service owed it a duty to ensure that convicts returned to their communities well-reformed and rehabilitated, the larger society must also take the responsibility to welcome and work with the ex-convicts “so they do not become repeat offenders.”
He said the Government was doubling efforts address the funding challenges of the Prisons Service in the face of society’s continuous expectation of the correctional institution to discharge completely changed and reformed ex-convicts.
The Government, the President said, would ensure that the Prison Service was provided the requisite support to empower and train prisoners, in the bid to reduce the number of inmates in custodial centers across the country.
“I remain commit to granting periodic amnesty to deserving inmates upon the advice of the Council of State,” he said, adding that the Government would not relent in efforts to see to the completion of a remand prison at Nsawam to ease the pressure on Minimum Security Prison
Currently, the project is at 70 percent complete and is expected to house inmates by the end of the year.
President Akufo-Addo pledged that the Government would continue to work closely with the Service to develop the capacity of officers to enable them to perform in accordance with best international standards.
He charged the new officers to continue to uphold the ideals of the Service, saying, “as new senior officers, you must bring meaning to your work and exhibit the competence required for good stewardship.”
“Your call has come at a time when much is expected of the Prison Service, both in its domestic and international obligations…It should not be lost on you that your call is one of trust reposed in you.
“Contemporary correctional management does not just focus on punishing prisoners, condemning and stigmatizing them with painful treatment methods, but rather on repairing their humanity and helping to restore their God-given talents in line with acceptable international standards,” he said.