Justice for All Programme not abandoned – Iddrisu
The Justice For All programme, aimed at decongesting the country’s prisons of large numbers of remand inmates, has not been discouraged or abandoned.
Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, Minister for Justice and Attorney General, who gave the assurance, said that the project has been ongoing since its inception in September 2007 by United Nations Development Programme.
The Minister, who was answering questions on the project at Parliament,
said she had meetings with the Chief Justice, the Minister of the Interior, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of Prisons and the Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, to address issues pertaining to criminal justice delivery.
She said that at an inaugural meeting in October last year, a taskforce under the co-chairmanship of a Supreme Court Judge and the Deputy Minster of Justice Attorney General was tasked to consider the Remand Review Project.
Mrs Iddrisu said the Chief Justice set up four special courts, which sat after regular courts had closed in November and December 2009, to deal with cases of remand prisoners.
Mrs Iddrisu said this year, 12 special courts have been set up to sit at Nsawam Prisons to handle cases which fall under the project.
Mrs Iddrisu said that the Nsawam Prisons had about 1,450 remand prisoners and that 18 remand prisoners were tried and sentenced, 68 remand prisoners were discharged and 19 remand prisoners granted bail by the special courts.
Mrs Iddrisu said the taskforce was planning a last sitting at Nsawam Prisons to round off the exercise for the year.
She said 13 of remand prisoners who were released have allegedly committed fresh offences and have been rearrested and one was killed in a shootout with the police in a foiled robbery.
She noted that the Justice For All programme alone could not solve the problem and there was the need for a review of the criminal justice delivery system.