President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the government will continue to improve the working conditions of the Prisons Service to enable it to deliver its functions effectively.
He said over the years, the government had made significant effort to improve on the manpower needs of the service which had resulted in the enlistment of more officers from various professional backgrounds.
Addressing the graduation parade of Cadet Course Intake 31 in Accra yesterday, the President, who was the Reviewing Officer, charged the officers to be practical, innovative and perform their function with integrity and compassion at all times.
In all, 450 graduates, including 176 females passed out from the Prison Officers Training School (POT) in Accra after about five months of training.
They comprised both direct entrants and serving officers who were equipped with higher administrative skills to continue their career in the service.
The officer cadet training was aimed at providing the requisite intellectual, physical and regimental preparation and mental resilience to officer cadets to enable them to take up leadership positions and exercise effective and efficient command in the Ghana Prisons Service.
Intake 31 had young men and women from different academic and professional backgrounds, including Business Administration, Accounting, Agriculture, Law, Nursing and Allied Health Services, Engineering and Building construction, among other qualifications.
The officers for the first time were taken through rigorous high-risk and counter-terrorism training at the Ankaful Prisons Complex in the Central Region for a period of three weeks.
Three officers were presented with awards for distinguishing themselves.
They are Senior Under Officer Kwaku Baffour Baah Akyamfuor, who received the Sword of Honour award, Junior Under Officer Vida Dampo, the Commandant award and Junior Officer Charles Leander Amuna picked up the Academic Cane award.
Congratulating the graduates, President Akufo-Addo entreated them to carry forward the ideals of the Prisons Service that they received during the training and exude discipline and professionalism at all times.
He urged prison officers to treat inmates with the respect and dignity they deserved and also ensure their welfare.
“As prison officers and security personnel of the state, you will be called upon to serve in prison establishments all over the country.
You must show utmost respect for the laws of the land and for the rights of prisoners committed to prison custody under your care,’’ the President added.
Also, in line with the mandate to ensure their welfare, rehabilitation and reformation, the President said the government and prison authorities had put in place pragmatic interventions in health care, food security, education and skills training, among others, to improve the conditions of the inmates progressively.
The time, President Akufo-Addo said, had come for a paradigm shift that would lead to the building of strong independent state institutions, which did not only excel in delivering their mandates, but were ready to deliver their capacity to work with income generated internally.
The President thus commended the Prison Service for its effort to increase its agricultural activities to boost food security for the well-being of inmates and also generate revenue for the running of the administration.
He, however, encouraged the Prison Service to embark on mechanisation and also involve the participation of established and reliable private partners in this direction.