Thirty-two officers and inmates of the Nsawam Medium Security Prison have been trained on poultry production under the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP).
The beneficiaries are made up of five females, 15 males and 12 prison officers.
The 11-week training programme, which began in July 2016, afforded the participants the opportunity to have practical experience in poultry farming.
They used 100 chicks in the training exercise, at the end of which 95 chicks survived, giving an indication that the trainees had acquired the necessary skills.
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of crops, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, encouraged the inmates to engage themselves in such exercises to enhance their skills.
According to him, imprisonment is not the end of life and said the government would continue to put in place measures to ensure that the inmates acquire productive skills.
The acting Director-General of the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS), Mr Emmanuel Adzator, indicated that the service had moved on from merely reforming and rehabilitating inmates to reintegrating them into society after serving their sentences.
He, however, observed that limited funds made available to the service was a major setback to the realisation of such objectives and denied some of the inmates skills acquisition.
He lauded the initiative by the REP and appealed to philanthropists and stakeholders to assist the service with funding for infrastructure development and the provision of facilities such as agricultural machinery.
For his part, the Eastern Regional Director of the REP, Mr Kwasi Attah Antwi, said the training was part of the government’s effort to reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of the inmates when they eventually leave prison.
He said the reformation of inmates through the provision of agricultural skills would not benefit only them but the nation as a whole.
According to him, formal employment might be discriminatory on the basis of one’s criminal record, for which reason the inmates had to acquire entrepreneurship training.
He, therefore, urged the Prisons Service to link the trained inmates to the various Business Advisory Centres (BACs) on their release to enable them to get the necessary support to start and manage their own businesses.