Before this episode, let us take the opportunity to apologise for our inability to publish your favourite segment; Prison Diaries, last Saturday. We had a difficulty receiving the recording. Please enjoy the read:
So I was given a place to sleep which was supposed to be relatively better. It was not significantly better though. There is a shocker.
I was sleeping face to face with someone who had HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis combined. We were sleeping face to face, body touching and breathing on each other. Sometimes his temperature will become extremely high at night. He would have to wake up and try to sit among us as tightly packed as we were. We were packed 8-15 people arranged vertically under a student bed. The “Policeman”; the person who packed us sometimes had to kick or stamp your waist for you to fit in.
I got to believe strongly what the bible said about God delivering the just from the valley of the shadow of death. This sick person was in there to serve 8 months imprisonment. He was later moved to Ankaful for treatment.
Usually, a cough from a TB patient is enough to get you infected. so you could understand the harrowing experience.
I later got to learn that, my cell was call the “September House”. Previously, someone died in that cell every day in the month of September. That cell was noted for notorious homosexuals. There were 10 3-Decker beds there. So 33 people would sleep on a bed there while the rest (over 100 people) slept on the floor. People had gay sex by heart and sometimes fell from the top bed to the floor. It was as though that cell was cursed. Later that cell was reconstituted and the “September jinx” got broken.
In the prison, you got used to sleeping with dead bodies till day broke. When someone died in the night, you couldn’t get anyone to remove him so you had to sleep with the corpse till day break-body touching.
That’s how serious it was.
The following day at dawn, they would ring a bell and everyone had to sit up and have a morning devotion. There is no place as religious and full of prayers as the prison.
By 6am, the cells were opened for the day’s activities to begin.
You had to brush your teeth, urinate and be ready for breakfast which was usually corn dough porridge served in small cups. Some people don’t take it. Others relished it. It had no sugar and always served very hot. When you were served, you had to drink it quickly so the same cup could be used to serve other people.
Those who didn’t have beds to sleep on were called “floor members”. Among the “floor members” we had the “asikafo ammant3m” and the “zongo people”. Those in the “zongo” are tightly packed while the “asikafo Ammant3m” had some money to pay for comfort.
Between 6:30 and 7am, Officers came to take the number. The checkers would come first to check and then later return with the officers to double check. The cell has to account for every single prisoner at most every 5 hours every day. It is only after the first headcount that you are at liberty to go out and do whatever activities you want on the yard.
Some sell maggi cube, charcoal, tomatoes, pepper etc. There were several business activities that thrived in there. When I was there, you could cook. People would set up their sales tables like they do in the market. Those activities come to a halt at 11am to make way for another headcount. They would check the number inside against the number who had gone outside the yard for “labour”.
Inmates who are nearing the end of their sentences are allowed to go for “labour” outside in order to gradually reintegrate them back into the society.
They do the headcount and then report to Accra every time.
Watch out for the next Episode on Saturday. It promises to be revealing.
Did you enjoy the read? Please leave your comments in the comment box and share this post to your friends as well. Reach us on 024 9 57 96 64 if you want to contribute news stories or opinion pieces.