Ho, 29 November 2019 – Today at Ho Central Prison, the “Justice for All Programme” (JFAP) held speedy hearing to Remand prisoners. ARAP is pleased to support this initiative.
The “Justice for All Programme” is a State-led intervention, established in 2007 to alleviate prison overcrowding by setting up Mobile In-prison Special Courts to adjudicate remand/Pre-trial prisoner cases throughout the country. This initiative enjoys the collective efforts of the Judicial Service of Ghana, the Office of the Attorney-General, the Ghana Prisons and Police Service, CHRAJ as well as POS Foundation (Civil Society body that serves as facilitators).
Congestion has forced prisoners to sleep in very dehumanizing positions in prison cells. It is common for as many as fifty-five (55) inmates to share a cell intended for twelve (12). The report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, Juan Mendez indicted Ghana on these deplorable conditions resulting from the overcrowding in our prisons which is below the United Nations Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules). To heighten the issue of overcrowded prisons and the lengthy pre-trial detention, sometimes detainees serve more time in detention awaiting trial than the actual sentence the crime requires.
Records from Ghana Prisons Service Criminal Records Units states that the total prisoner population at the end of December 2018 was 14,910 as against the authorized nationwide prison capacity of 9,875 with an overcrowding rate of 51%. The population comprised 13,000 convicts and 1,910 pre-trial prisoners (un-convicted persons).
From the 27 applications received at Ho Central Prison, two remand prisoners have been set free; two were convicted and imprisoned; eight applications for bail were refused; one application was struck out and fourteen others who were also on remand have been granted bail as part of the programme.
Some of the beneficiaries had spent about 10 years on remand with trial yet to be commenced at the law courts. The “Justice for all Programme” is a beautiful example of Ghana beyond aid
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