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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Finance Ministry yet to approve ¢5-per-inmate feeding fee for prisons

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The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, has said attempts to increase inmates’ feeding fee to ¢5 have been delayed by the Finance Ministry.

Addressing Parliament on the state of prisons in the country, he said the Finance Ministry’s approval has lingered despite all necessary steps taken to get the increment approved.

“Mr Speaker, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Ministry have made various attempts for the upward adjustment of the feeding rate from ¢1.80 to ¢5. I must acknowledge that this move to increase this rate precedes our coming into office.

“It’s not as if it is just us who have seen the need to promote that. We are, however, yet to receive approval for that,” the Nandom legislator said.

Many prison campaigners and activists had previously indicated that the ¢1.80 is inadequate.

In an interview with JoyNews, a Chief Superintendent of Prisons, Courage Atsem, decried the meagre feeding grants allocated to prisoners in the country, saying the money is “woefully inadequate.”

He noted that although interventions were made to supplement government funding, they have not been effective.

But the Interior Minister says their calls for the increment will not be in vain.

The feeding rate for prisoners in the country remains ¢1.80 for three-square meals (per head) per day in spite of the increasing cost of living.

During a meeting with the Judicial Committee of the Council of State at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison, the Eastern Regional Commander of the Service, Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP), Samuel Owusu Amponsah, said the situation make feeding the inmates difficult.

Finance Ministry yet to approve ¢5-per-inmate feeding fee for prisons – Ambrose Dery
Chief Superintendent of Prisons, Courage Atsem

In spite of its meagre nature, the funds are, sometimes, also not released on time, CSP Courage Atsem disclosed.

“Sometimes, the releases don’t even come on time and as a manager, you can’t say ‘I’ve not received anything so I can’t feed my inmates.’ The inmates must eat so you need to perform some magic for the inmates to be able to eat,” he added.

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