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Eight remand prisoners discharged under Justice for All Programme

By
Kwamina Tandoh, GNA

Akuse (E/R) July 7, GNA – Eight remand
prisoners at the Akuse Local Prison in the Eastern Region have been discharged,
after two Courts sat on their cases, under the Justice for All Programme.

In all 41 cases were heard, with eight
applicants discharged, 14 inmates granted bail, 16 refused bail whilst three
persons had their applications struck out because their cases were still
pending at the Court for trial.

The accused persons had been in prison custody
from five months to four years for various crimes, including murder, rape,
stealing and illegal possession of narcotic substances.

The Justice for All Programme established in
2007 seeks to alleviate overcrowding in various prisons by setting up special
courts to adjudicate remand prisoner cases throughout the country with the
joint efforts of the Judicial Service of Ghana, the office of the
Attorney-General, the Ghana Prisons and the Ghana Police Service, and Civil
Society. 

Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Judge at the
Court of Appeal, and the Chairman of the Justice for All Programme, told the
Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the programme was in its tenth year and had dealt
with 3427 inmates of which 688 were discharged, 1077 were granted bail and 138
were convicted and sentenced.

He appealed to the Attorney General and
Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior to implement the
non-custodial sentencing policy to help decongest the prisons to improve
conditions.

He said this would however call for the
amendment of Criminal Procedure Act 30 and also salvage the state monies spent
on convicts who were convicted and sentenced on minor offences.

He expressed gratitude to Danish International
Development Agency (DANIDA), British High Commission, United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), Star Ghana, POS Foundation and various
stakeholders for their enormous effort to the success of the programme.

Mr Jonathan Osei-Owusu, the Chief Executive
Director of POS Foundation, an NGO for human right advocacy that facilitates
and coordinates the Justice for All Programme, said the NGO served as a legal
aid for the remand prisoners by providing paralegals and lawyers to represent
them during the sitting. 

He said a survey conducted by the foundation
revealed that most prisoners in the country had skin diseases and bodily pains
and it had over the years screened the prisoners and provided medications.

Mr Edward Fiifi Acquah, the Assistant Director
of the Akuse Prisons, commended the Attorney General’s Department and
stakeholders for the exercise, stressing that it would help decongest the
prisons.

Mr Elvis Tetteh, a 24 year-old man who was
discharged and spoke in an interview with the GNA urged the youth to be
cautious of their lives and stay out of trouble in their communities.

As part of activities, BAF Ghana
International, a human rights service Non-Governmental Organisation donated
medications to the Prison’s infirmary. 

Madam Sala Ouedraogo, the Founder of BAF Ghana
International said the medications would enable the inmates to access primary
healthcare.

The Akuse Local Prison was built in 1911 to
accommodate 90 inmates, but ended up accommodating more than 210 inmates thus
stretching the facilities in the prison.

GNA

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