Justice for All program decentralized as gov't provide funding support

Sun, 4 Aug 2019 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Beginning October this year, the Justice For All program, a program aimed at reducing overcrowding in the country's prisons through setting up special courts to hear remand prisoner cases will be decentralized.

Chairman for the program, Justice Clemence Honyenuga says high courts judges in all the sixteen regions have been tasked to adjudicate all cases related to the program.

The chairman, an appeal court judge also revealed that government has fully taken over the funding of the program.

The Justice For All Programme was introduced in 2007 as part of the justice delivery process to rid the prisons of overcrowding.

Although statistics are not readily available, it has been reported that the programme has resulted in the reduction of remand prisoners from 33 per cent in 2007 to 12 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

Since its inception, cases have been heard by a judicial team from Accra, rendering the process slow.

The decentralization of the program, Justice Honyenuga explains, will ensure cases are determined on time and save the limited resources used in running the program.

During the siting, seventeen remand prisoners were set free while 21 others who were also on remand at the Koforidua Central Prison were granted bail.

Some of the beneficiaries had spent between 3 to 9 years on remand with trial yet to be commenced at the law courts.

Two were convicted and imprisoned; Ten applications for bail were refused and five applications were struck out.

While commending the Justice for All program initiative, the commander of the Koforidua central prisons, Deputy Director of Prisons(DDP), Benedict Bob-Dery expressed dissatisfaction with congestion in the Koforidua prison cells.

He said the facility which was originally built for a little over 400 inmates now accommodates over 730 inmates.

An assistant state attorney, Helen Samlafo who represented a team from the Attorney General's department bemoaned the slow pace of filing of cases by the police.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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