Five hundred trained youth have been deployed to complement the work of the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS). The Prison Support Staff, who received five weeks of intensive training are to assist the GPS to ensure the welfare, and safe custody of prisoners, and help in their reformation and rehabilitation.
They comprised 300 males and 200 females.
The training, dubbed: “Youth in Prison Service”, is a project by the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and was facilitated by the GPS to create jobs for the youth.
The beneficiaries were taken through extensive courses in community education, teaching assistant functions, auxiliary health care, basic prison duties, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and first aid.
After a five-week training session, a passing-out parade for the Prison Support Staff was held in Accra yesterday.
The youth will be engaged temporarily by the Ghana Prisons Service for the next two years, after which it is envisaged that about 80 per cent of them would be retained.
The Chief Executive Officer of the YEA, Mr Kobina Beecham, in a speech read on his behalf, said the training formed part of the core mandate of the agency to develop, supervise and facilitate the creation of jobs for the youth in the country.
He was optimistic that the beneficiaries, who had been taken through rigorous training, were fully prepared to embrace the task of serving the country. He expressed the hope that the trainees had been equipped for their responsibilities since they were trained by the GPS staff.
In all, he said 23,647 applications were received when the programme opened, out of which 2,000 were selected and put into four cohorts.
He explained that “each cohort is made up of 500 trainees and this passing-out ceremony is for the first cohort and is made up of 37 trainees from the Greater Accra Region, 185 from the Central Region and 278 from the Ashanti Region”.
Two of the trainees who distinguished themselves in the course of the training were presented with awards.
Ms Victoria Raymondson Ayatey was awarded the best trainee in academics, while Ms Emefa Agbavor received the Commandant’s Award for best behaviour.
Later in an interview, the Deputy Director of Prisons, Mr Mark K. A. Agbosu, said the support staff would be posted to 43 of the 45 prison establishments across the country.
One of the new recruits, Rita Odom Poku, 23, who was happy she had been given the opportunity to serve the nation, said, “I have always wanted to work in any of the security services and I am on track.”