The Minister for the Interior Hon Kwesi Ahwoi says his outfit is advocating the passage of the Prisons Bill into Act which will provide inter alia for the introduction of alternatives to custodial sentences in Ghana.
He made this known in Accra yesterday, when he took his turn at the meet-the-press series.
He added that his outfit was embarking on prisons' infrastructural expansion and logistics in order to address the challenge of overcrowding in Custodial Services. He hinted that the Ministry is planning to involve more non-governmental organizations (NGO's) in the provision of legal aid to inmates.
Furthermore, he said the Ghana National Fire Services (GNFS) had embarked on public sensitization and providing technical assistance and advice to schools, markets, ministries, departments and agencies nationwide on fire safety measures.
Mr Ahwoi said GNFS had embarked on fire audit inspections in collaboration with the Electricity Company of Ghana and Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority.
He further stated that the Ghana Immigration Services (GIS) had established a special unit for institutional inspection as well as created sixteen (16) additional operational district offices across the country.
Mr Ahwoi noted that to reduce the incidence of crime, the police had adopted proactive strategies such as improved crime detection, prevention, building closer and mutual working relationship with all stakeholders particularly the general public.
He said the police had intensified day and night patrols on highways, commercial and residential suburbs of the major cities.
He said the ministry was exploring the possibility of paying rent allowances to service personnel as alternative to provision of official accommodation.
Hon Ahwoi announced that the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) was collaborating with the Prisons Services to establish reformation and rehabilitation centres to manage drug abuse related offences in prisons. According to him, his ministry is establishing a central electronic monitoring system to monitor casinos and gaming centres in the country.
He however noted that stepping up monitoring and inspection of casinos and other gaming centers was essential.
On the issue of conflict management, the Minister said the National Peace Council (NPC) is facilitating the creation and development of platforms for constructive engagements and various conflict sites to reduce conflicts across the country.
"The council is establishing seven (7) regional structures and twelve district peace council offices by end of this year," he stated. Mr Ahwoi said in spite of successes chalked by the Ministry, it faced constraints including weak enforcement of the migration laws leading to influx of illegal immigrants, inadequate office and residential accommodation, prevalence of drug abuse and incidence of trafficking of illicit narcotic drugs.