The number of juveniles in prison is gradually increasing in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions Command of the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS), a Deputy Superintendent of Prisons (DSP) Johann Nii Narh Nartey, has said.
He expressed worry about the situation, saying in 2019 the Sunyani Central Prison had one juvenile and increased to six in 2020 but the number as of June this year had increased to nine, comprising juveniles whose ages ranged from 12 to 17.
DSP Nartey, the Command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the Command had started sensitization programmes in the first and second cycle institutions to educate the pupils and students on the consequences of early crimes and their avoidance.
He said permission was needed from the regional directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to carry out the campaign, which is being done to prevent interruptions in the academic work.
DSP Nartey expressed concern that the involvement of children in crime in the country was very disturbing.
He said a greater percentage of inmates at the prisons were those within the productive ages of 18 to 25, saying, that trend did not indicate hope for the nation’s bright future if it continued because “the youth are the future leaders of every country.”
DSP Nartey said many children were ignorant of minor crimes, which could be a cause for them to be imprisoned and appealed to stakeholders to assist by instilling in the children and youth sound moral training in their families and communities for them to become assets and not liabilities in future.
He implored parents, guardians, teachers, schools’ guidance and counselling coordinators, churches’ counselling units and social workers to realise that the challenge “is a shared responsibility of all to save the country’s future leaders.”
DSP Nartey asked the school heads also to cooperate by responding to Service’s request to enable them to educate the pupils and students and appealed to individuals and organisations to graciously sponsor the programme so that the Command could reach out to all schools, both public and private for a very successful impact.