Hard talk “Prisons now a university for learning higher crimes” – Stephen Wengam

He explains that in Ghana, people who commit petty crimes are made to be in the same cell with those who commit criminal offences.

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Board Chairman of the Prisons Council, Reverend Stephen Yenusom Wengam has described Ghana's prisons as "university for learning higher crimes".

According to him, the conditions of the prisons end up hardening criminals after they are jailed. The country, he says, has been unable to classify the inmates. He explains that in Ghana, people who commit petty crimes are made to be in the same cells with those who commit criminal offences. In effect, the latter influences the former to become hardened criminals.

“Another challenge that we are saddled with is our inability to classify the inmates. Per the UN minimum standard rules, you are supposed to classify them. If someone indulges in petty crime you are supposed to put them in a particular place away from the hardened criminals.

“But again because they were not purpose built, we are compelled to put all of them together. So our prisons have become university for learning higher crimes,” he said on Starr FM’s Morning Starr on Wednesday.

Reverend Wengam noted that the council is unable to improve the knowledge base of the inmates because of lack of resources.

“We are supposed to train them in several areas including automobile but because of the lack of resources, the training workshops are literally empty”.

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