A nominee for the position of the Supreme Court Justice, Justice Agnes Mercy Abla Dordzie has suggested that courts in Ghana adopt community service as an alternative method of sentencing persons engaged in lesser crimes.
This, according to her, will significantly help reduce the congestion in the prisons but still achieve the purpose of both reforming the individuals engaged in these crimes and helping develop society.
“The sentencing program must change so we can have community service in certain matters that are trivial so that we don’t send everyone to the prisons”.
She said this during her vetting by Parliament’s Appointments Committee Friday, August 24. Her submission was in response to the question of tackling congestion prisons in the country.
Mrs. Dordzie noted that the appalling state of Ghana’s prisons is a ‘headache’ that must be tackled urgently. Aside from the Justice for All Programme which is currently being implemented by the judiciary to help solve the problem, she proposed that infrastructural development is considered as another way of reducing the overcrowding and improving the prisons services.
“It is a headache because when you look at what pertains in the prisons, it’s very sad. There have been various steps by the judiciary; the Justice for All Programme is going on, where we sit in the prisons to get rid of some of the remand prisoners…..It is about time we improve upon infrastructure in the prisons as well”.
She continued; ADR is very essential, it will help decongest the courts. The ADR program is on and I think we need more education to the public, lawyers so they take advantage of the ADR in the courts rather than the litigation that goes on now.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Dordzie has urged police officers and the various investigative bodies in the country to sit up and be more vigilant to ensure that probing procedures are done on time and justice is delivered to whom it’s due.
“This goes back to the caliber of police we have, if they can sit up and have proper supervision over whoever investigates these matters, it will help….my advise will go to the police, that they should sit up and help this nation”.
Justice Agnes Mercy Abla Dordzie is the third of four persons nominated by President Akufo-Addo to the Supreme Court.
The first two nominees; Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey and Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau were vetted by the committee Thursday, August 23. The other two; Justice Agnes Mercy Abla Dordzie and Nene A.O. Amegatcher took their turns before the committee Friday.