4 Prisoners Gain Varsity Admissions


PRISON AUTHORITIES at Sunyani Central Prison have expressed joy over four of their inmates gaining admission to read degree courses in the country’s universities, as part of prisons reformation efforts.

The four excelled in the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and were assisted to apply to the universities, which offered them admission.

According to the authorities, two of the inmates are going to the University of Ghana, one to University of Cape Coast and another to the Catholic University of Ghana, Fiapre, to read four-year degree programmes in Public Health, Procurement and Supply Chain Management, and Human Resource Management.

Public Relations Officer of the Sunyani Central Prison, DSP Dennis Peasah, disclosed this to DAILY GUIDE in an interview.

Throwing more light on efforts by the authorities to reform inmates during years of incarceration, the Head of Inmate Education Unit of the prison,  Superintendent Francis Nsoh, said all the courses are weekend programmes and the prisoner-students shall be assigned officers to enable them to attend lectures at the designed times.

“In order to conceal their identities, they will not put on identifiable uniforms so we don’t expose them to discrimination,” he explained.

According to him, this is the first time Sunyani Central Prison has chalked this feat, saying it is part of the reformation being encouraged by the Deputy Director of Prisons, Williams Kular, Bono Ahafo and Bono East Regional Prisons Commander.

Asked whether this will facilitate their speedy release even if their sentence periods are not due, Supt. Nsoh said that was not within the domain of prison authorities, but said it may facilitate their qualification for amnesty or presidential pardon, “but that is beyond the domain of our jurisdiction.”

The prison spokesperson said the challenge, however, is the ability to pay all their admission fees.

“We are trying to secure scholarship package for those admitted to the Catholic University, but those going to the University of Ghana are to pay GH¢12,000, while the one going to UCC is to pay GH¢2,940 as admission fees,” he disclosed.

He, therefore, appealed for assistance from individuals and benevolent organisations to help the inmates pay their fees in full.

DSP Dennis Peasah noted that there is no special allocation from government to pay the inmates fees. The prison authorities, he went on, try to make do from their meagre allocation which is GH¢1.80p a day per inmate.

This, he described as woefully inadequate, and said that the last time it was reviewed was a little over ten years ago.

“It is a challenge feeding them though we also engage in farming to support government allocations. I must say we also get donations from benevolent individuals and organisations who occasionally come to our aid, especially during special occasions such as Christmas and Easter festivities,” he added.

He revealed the inmate population of the Sunyani Central Prison is a little over 800, though it was originally built to accommodate 450 inmates.

FROM Daniel Y Dayee, Sunyani