The Kumasi Central Prisons is the darkest place in my life. In my opinion, beside the mortuary, the prison yard is the worst place to be.
My journey started on the 22nd of June, 2014 at 9:24am.
The judge named Justice Adzakpa walked in the courtroom to deliver judgment in the case of Farouk and two others against the Republic of Ghana (of which I was included).The complainant was Margaret Frimpong of MagFrimps Enterprise.
At 9:31, the judge started reading his judgment. A lot of financial arithmetic went on for a while. After some hours (around 11:32), he pronounced the sentence. “….you are therefore sentenced to 4 years in prison with hard labour. My court”. I watched him and all that I could do at that trance-like moment was to laugh. The prosecutor, a policeman looked at me and said “you are laughing, won’t you tell the judge anything?” “What do you want me to tell him? I retorted” I was not laughing to disrespect the judge or the court. I was laughing because I was very clear deep down within me that I had done nothing to warrant the verdict just pronounced. I didn’t have a choice so all I could tell myself was for the will of God to be done.
By this time, my two other colleagues with whom I was jailed were shivering uncontrollably. Before we could say jack, handcuffs were slapped on our wrists and whisked away to a waiting room from where other policemen would escort us through the processes and then to the prison yard. We waited till around 3PM when the paperwork began frantically since the prisons won’t accept fresh inmates after 4PM. By 3:42, we started walking with him from the court premises at Adum to the Central prisons (also located at Adum in Kumasi). At 3:52 approximately, we got to the prison, the small gate was opened and we got in.
That was the beginning of the dark years; The two years and twenty days I spent in the Kumasi Central Prisons.
We were given a thorough body search. Fingers were used to search your anus to ensure you were not hiding any phones, drugs, or contraband. Our particulars were taken at the gate and then we were moved to the reception inside.
Frankly, entering the yard is a scary situation. If you are not strong spirited, anything could happen to you at the mere sight of the horrendous looking crowd there. Some begin having mental problems or collapse just seeing the situation upon entry. It is a heartbreaking moment.
At the reception, further particulars are taken. Your name, your next of kin, who they should contact in emergencies etc, what brought you there among other details. They also record body marks they could use to identify you in case you break jail.
They then call on of the inmates called checkers to take you to admissions; cells that serve to welcome new inmates. The checkers are senior inmates who are in many ways leaders of the inmates. At any point in time, they have statistics on how many prisoners there were, how many are sick, how many are out on duty etc etc.
There are three major blocks with other adjoining blocks. There is the A-block which houses inmates serving between one day of sentence to nine years. There is the B-block which houses from ten years of sentence to maximum (lifers, 99 years etc). Then we have the C-block which houses the remand prisoners. This is the most populated block. There are the segregation blocks which house sick people with chronic illnesses that will take time to recover from. You stay there until you heal and then they reintegrate you into the masses of the prison.
So we were taken to the admissions cell and frankly speaking, it was hell!
This series is the real life experience of a young Ghanaian man who was sentenced to jail term of 4 years in the Kumasi Central Prison for a crime he insists he knows nothing of.
He was pardoned after serving 2 years and 20 days of that sentence in an amnesty.
This series seeks to bring to the fore occurrences within our prisons system that are mostly counterproductive to the correction of inmates and also highlight some of the inhuman treatments that occur there among a host of challenges that bedevil our prisons.
It is written from the young man’s narrations.
A new edition will be published every Saturday unless otherwise announced on this platform.
Enjoy the read.