A NUMBER of inmates at the Kumasi Central Prisons are developing mental problems in what prison officials refer to as psychological problems resulting from congestion.
During a visit to the prisons at the weekend, it came to light that as a result of the congestion, prisoners slept in turns, a situation which compelled some of them to ask whether the congestion was part of their punishment.
Inmates suffering from mental disorders were sent to mental hospitals for medical attention.
The Kumasi Central Prisons, which was built to accommodate 800 inmates, now contains 1,821 prisoners.
The Deputy Director of Prisons in charge of the Ashanti Region, Mr Ambrose Imoru Salifu, disclosed this when members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Interior and Defence paid a visit to the Kumasi Central Prisons last Friday.
The visit was to enable the members to acquaint themselves with conditions in the prisons to devise ways of addressing them.
He attributed the congestion partly to the inaction of the police who refused to send remand prisoners to court.
According to him, the warrants for about two-thirds of the remand prisoners at the prisons had expired, but the police had refused to deal with the situation.
Mr Salifu said apart from the mental problems, other diseases, including tuberculosis, had become a constant threat, not only to prison inmates, but also to some of the officers.
He recalled how one prison officer in Kumasi died from TB contracted from an inmate, and said something serious needed to be done about the situation.
Mr Salifu said to help address the psychological problems of inmates, his outfit had taken counselling seriously.
The commander commended the government for extending the National Health Insurance Scheme to officers, their spouses and their children.
He was also full of praise for the President for introducing his Special Initiative on Distance Education to the Kumasi Central Prisons.
He, however, appealed to the government to help solve the accommodation problems confronting the officers.
Mr Eugene Atta-Agyapong, the Chairman of the Select Committee, commended the commander for laying bare the problems facing his outfit, and said they would also execute their constitutional duty by addressing the problems.