Coronavirus: Why prisoners cannot be freed [audio]

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The Ghana Prisons Service has said it does not have the power to release prisoners in spite of the coronavirus outbreak.

The only one with that prerogative is President Nana Akufo-Addo who can grant that incarcerated amnesty.

Deputy Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Prison Service, DSP Daniel Machator, revealed this on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen program, Wednesday.

His comment was in reaction to a call by a human rights lawyer on the government to release the prisoners to stop any possible spread of the virus.

Lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu in a statement said the overcrowded nature of prisons puts all inmates at risk should one of them get infected with the dreaded pandemic.

But DSP Machator said though his call is legitimate, the law does not mandate them to exercise that right.

As an immediate measure, he said they have provided sanitizers and running water for use at the gate and vantage points inside prisons, wearing of face masks by prison staff and visitors, quarantining and referral of suspected cases to appropriate health facilities among others.

This notwithstanding, the Prison Service Deputy PRO said they will be very happy if some of the inmates are released.

He explained that correctional facilities across the country remain densely populated and poorly designed to prevent the inevitable rapid and widespread dissemination of this virus.

“We justify locking people up to protect public safety yet public safety will be at even greater peril if we fail to mitigate risks associated with confining too many people in prisons during a pandemic,” DSP Machator said.

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