After going off due to a break in communication with our source, ghanagong is excited to bring you another edition of your favourite read; #PrisonDiaries. Read, comment and share with friends. Thank you.
Before we go to the crust of today’s topic, let’s remind ourselves of the horrors of prison life. Let us remember our brothers and sisters in prison in our prayers. We should always remember you don’t have to be a criminal to end up in prison. Anyone could go to jail over the the slightest of issues. Let us take another look at sleeping conditions and the food inmates endure.
Sleeping conditions of inmates
Let’s address the sleeping conditions of inmates. A room that should take about sixty people is taking about 130 people. People squat till day break such that their legs are swollen by morning. People are packed very tightly also.
No human being no matter their crime should be packed like that.
It is even worse with the remand prisoners. The convicted prisoners have it a bit better. They have 10 3-decker beds in each cell summing up to 33 beds. The rest sleep on the floor. Two people are not supposed to sleep on a bed.
These conditions coupled with the heat and bedbugs make it a place not to be.
Another problem is the food inmates eat. It’s terrible, frankly speaking. Inmates are fed twice a day. That’s problematic in itself. The quality of the food is even worse.
Imagine palm fruits are brought in and left on the ground for 2-3 weeks. The fruits get rotten but they cannot discard them. They use them to prepare the soup anyway. They just boil it and serve-no pepper, no salt.
Aside the porridge which is the main breakfast, they also use weevil infested maize to cook banku and also use weevil infested gari. You should be there to smell it. It smells very bad.
If you cannot afford to buy food for yourself, you have to eat that. So some who get frequent visits from family shy away from eating the food prepared there.
Those who get money frequently also send officers to go and buy them food.
Prison officers in illegalities
For an inmate to send an officer to buy him food, you have to pay him 2 Cedis per food. This is one reason there’s a lot of money circulating in the prisons. The officers are extorting money for services from the prisoners.
An officer can just meet an inmate and demand money or just dig into his pocket and take whatever money he finds and says something like; “I have taken it, are you not my friend?”
When we come to the use of mobile phones; a thing that is highly prohibited in the prisons, I can boldly tell you inmates use the most sophisticated phones. Some of them even use tablets. The inmates don’t come out…who sends the phones in there for them? The officers!
An officer will collect not less than 50 Cedis to smuggle in a yam phone for you. They could take 100 cedis up to 200 cedis to smuggle in smart phones. The same applies to wee, cigarettes, tramol (tramadol), blue blue. They take money for it and smuggle them in. Some of the officers who take the inmates for labour give them temporal freedom. They then go and buy the weed, wrap it into balls, apply pomade to it and then push it through their anus as far as they can get. When they return to the prison yard, they wait till late at night and then sit on the water closet toilets in the cells and bring it out. They then sell these to other inmates.
Some inmates do same with yam phones. They buy it, put it in a polythene bag, apply pomade and push it through their anus. It is not surprising that many of those who do these are also engaged in homosexuality.
There are two ways by which illegal stuff come into the prisons; the officers and then the anal insertion of stuff when they go out on labour.
Those stuff that come in large quantities are brought in by the officers. If they want to dare me, I will mention names.
Some of these officers have formed cliques and have managed to convince the chief officer to put them on duty together at a particular times. The inmates know them and rejoice when they are on duty because “goods will flow”. That’s what they normally say.
When they are on duty, one is at the gate searching, one commands the whole entry point, and the others are at other posts inside the prisons. They communicate and allow each other access without proper search. They bring the illegal stuff in and take money which they later share. These things normally happen during the weekend or other days the commander and other strict senior officers would be absent.
Now let’s talk about a lot of the fraud that go on in the country. The fact of the matter is that a lot of the fraud occurring in the country are perpetrated from behind prison walls.
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.
Enjoy the read.