The country currently has over 9000 youth locked up in various prisons. The number represents about 85 per cent of the total number of inmates which is over 15,000.
The Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP), Millicent Owusu, made this known at a multi stakeholder dialogue organised by the National Youth Authority for actors within the youth development ecosystem.
She described the situation as worrying because the percentage of young people who were between the age of 12 and 35 years did not have access to the many benefits that the youth in the country had which made them a liability to the country.
The Deputy Director of Prisons, therefore, pleaded that some national activities geared towards the youth in the country are also implemented in the prisons so that the young inmates could also benefit.
“If we do not implement these things and we leave them out, it will eventually affect the nation, so we ask that they include these young people in their policies so that while we in the Prisons Service reform them, they can have skills which will contribute to the general development of the country,” she said.
The two-day stakeholder meeting was on the theme: “Breaking Barriers: Creating a strong youth development ecosystem.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority, Pius Enam Hadzide, said it was the responsibility of the State to account for the young people in the country, and that it was also important to work with non-state actors to ensure that the issues of young people were addressed.
That, he said, was the reason the authority had chosen the month of August to amplify the challenges that confronted young people and also collaborate with stakeholders to discuss the solutions that could be rolled out to deal with the challenges of young people.
“This is an opportunity to come together in a complementary capacity to understand the challenges that we are all overloaded with in order to devise strategies to resolve the challenges of the young people of our country,” Mr Hadzide stressed.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Williams Kartey, indicated that the myriad of issues confronting young people in contemporary times included health, education, employment, entrepreneurship, participation, leadership, adding that the issues were critical for the developmental agenda of the country.
He said although the government had over the years implemented cutting edge interventions to address the critical needs of the cohort of the population, non-state institutions which worked in silos to implement youth policies had led to governmental interventions receiving minimal attention, a situation which led to difficulty in harmonising the intervention.
He, therefore, urged all stakeholders to support and contribute meaningfully towards developing an action plan that would help address the issues confronting youth development in the country.
Source: Graphic Online