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OPINION: Unlocking potential behind bars: The persons skill training programmes

Updated: May 30

In the hearts of Ghana's Correctional facilities lies a beacon of hope and transformation: the vocational and technical skill development programs for inmates in the forty five (45) prison establishments nationwide.

Whereas incarceration serves as a form of punishment, these skill development initiatives offer a pathway to rehabilitation, empowering individuals to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to society upon their release.

The Ghana Prisons Service's approach to inmate rehabilitation recognizes the importance of equipping individuals with practical skills that enhance their employability and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Through partnership with government agencies such as the National Entrepreneurship and Innovative Program (NEIP), Commission for Technical and Vocational Education Training (CTVET) and other non-profit organizations, prisons facilities across the country offer a diverse range of training programs tailored to the needs and interest of inmates.

A typical example of such program is the carpentry workshop at the James Camp Prison, where inmates learn carpentry skills under the guidance of experienced trainers who are prison officers.

From crafting furniture to mastering woodworking techniques, inmates undertaking this trade develop marketable skills that open doors to employment opportunities upon their reintegration into society.

Similarly, vocational and technical training workshops within the prison system offer training in tailoring, auto mechanics, baking, shoemaking, kente weaving, soap making and bead making.

These programs do not only provide practical skills but also instill discipline, teamwork and a sense of purpose among inmates.

The impact of these initiatives extends beyond individual transformation.

By investing in vocational and technical skill development, the Prisons Service contribute to the workforce development and economic growth of the country.

Beneficiaries of these programs become skilled artisans, entrepreneurs and mentors, enriching communities and driving progress.

These programs also serve as a testament to the power of second chances, providing inmates with the tools to rebuild their lives.

Currently, the Ghana Prisons Service is rated among the few correctional systems in Africa that promote reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration, reducing the cycle of crime and incarceration.

In the success of these initiatives, challenges however remain in its sustainance and improvement.

Limited resources, overcrowding of inmates and societal stigma present barriers to the effective implementation of vocational and technical training programs in the prisons.

Addressing these challenges require continued collaboration between government agencies, civil society organizations and the private sector to expand access to skills training and employment opportunities for inmates.

The conscious effort by the Prisons Service in skill training is not solely about teaching trades, these are strategic efforts by the service to restore dignity, foster hope and build brighter futures.

I encourage government agencies and other non-profit organizations with the needed resources to invest in the potential of individuals behind bars.

The Prisons Service is not only transforming lives but also laying the foundation for a more inclusive, productive, responsible and a prosperous society.

Credit: DSP. Samuel Kofi Opoku, Prisons Headquarters, Accra

Email - samronalds99@



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