Research and education think tank, Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) with support from US-based Third Dimension Institute has made a donation of GH¢10,137.50 (about $2,300) to the Senior Correctional Centre of the Ghana Prisons Service.
Mr. William Nyarko, Executive Director of ACILA, Rev. Richard Gyasi Kwaa, National Director of Third Dimension Institute, and Mavis Kwainoe, a former Magistrate and ACILA board member presented the cheque and an exam success card to the Deputy Director of Prisons for Greater Accra and Officer-in-Charge of the centre, Mr. Chris Larvie.
Mr. Larvie said that the donation came in handy as the NVTI exam, which is intended to equip the juvenile inmates with vocational skills and the knowledge they need to enhance their reintegration into society, will be held next month.
Mr. Larvie expressed gratitude to ACILA and the Third Dimension Institute for such a timely donation as it will facilitate the timely registration of the inmates, adding that the money will be used for its purpose. He said the centre had written to many organizations but is yet to receive a response.
Providing background information about the centre, Mr. Larvie said that the juvenile centre is not a prison but a place to re-instill the basic morals that hitherto had been lost as a result of children’s detachment from their parents, bad company, or orphan state.
At the juvenile centre, the inmates are taken through various vocational training aimed at equipping them with the necessary skills they need to get them meaningfully engaged after serving their term which lasts for at most three years.
Some of the vocations the inmates are trained on include masonry, beads making, shoe making, bamboo craft, electronics, tailoring, carpentry among other trades.
The facility also has a junior high school where inmates are taken and eventually registered for the basic education certificate examination and when they pass they pursue their education at the senior high school.
Currently, the facility houses 195 inmates of which 45 are to be registered for the upcoming NVTI examination.
Explaining the rationale for the donation, Mr. Nyarko explained that research by ACILA in May 2017 established that key common reasons for recidivism, that is, an ex-inmate re-offending and returning to custody include lack of a support system for ex-inmates when they return home to their families; ex-inmates lacking knowledge or skills to enable them to get a job and re-integrate into society; discrimination against ex-inmates and stigmatization. Facing these challenges, nearly a quarter of ex-inmates relapse into committing crime and going back to prison or custody.
He said that the donation is part of a project by ACILA and Third Dimension Institute aimed at reducing the rate of recidivism; providing ex-inmates with the knowledge and skills they need to re-integrate into society; providing a support system to strengthen their emotional, religious, and physical needs and well-being, and providing guidance to enable them to be a blessing unto others.
In his remarks, Mr. Kwaa indicated that the Third Dimension Institute, which was founded by Dr. Frank Opoku Amoako, believes that it is not enough to equip inmates with skills for a living, adding that the Institute will provide counselling and spiritual guidance along with effective mentorship to the inmates to ensure that they can fulfill their God-given destinies.
He explained that anyone can make a mistake and fall into the grips of the law but once they have served their term, they have to be successfully re-integrated into society to prevent the ex-inmates relapsing into crime.