Ghana to introduce non-custodial sentence as 14,000 crowd 7,000 capacity prisons

Mark Woyongo - Interior Minister
Mark Woyongo – Interior Minister

The Attorney-General, the Office of the Chief Justice and the Ministry of the Interior, are considering the review of the criminal code to introduce community service as one of the punishment for the violation of the law for minor crimes.

The aim is to reduce custodial sentences, and help de-congest prisons in the country.

This was disclosed by the Minister of the Interior, Mr Mark Woyongo,  at a durbar of officers and men of the various security services under his ministry in the Eastern Region in Koforidua.

He regretted the neglect of the Prison Service which had led to the denial of resources for the officers of the Service and the congestion at the prisons.

Mr Woyongo observed that by the nature of the laws of the country, every citizen was a potential candidate for the prisons, and called for the respect for the rights and dignity of prisoners in the country.

He said the prisons in the country was constructed for 7,000 inmates but currently there are over 14,000 prisoners in the country and in some cases a cell for 24 people now had over 60 prisoners living in a very poor conditions.

Mr Woyongo said government was to support justice for all projects to help review cases of remind prisoners.

He disclosed that government had also initiated moves to get the Prisons Service the most modern tools for their work, including vehicles to enable them offer the best services required of them.

The Minister said government had also initiated moves to ensure that soon every district would be provided with a fire engine, and that his ministry was collaborating with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, to ensure that district assemblies provided boreholes for personnel of the Fire Service, which they could depend on in times of fire outbreaks, while efforts were being made to construct more hydrants and maintain existing ones.

Mr Woyongo said his Ministry was also encouraging Agencies with land, to enter into Public-Private Partnerships, where half of the land would be used to construct offices and residential accommodation for the Agencies,  and the rest to be  used by the private investor for his investment,  to  operate for some years and then hand it over to the agencies  concerned.

He said the Police Administration was working on a policy to allow policemen to further their studies.

During an open forum, members of the Security Service called for the provision of powerful and efficient communication gadgets, to enable them easily reach their Commands while on the field.

Staff of the Fire Service, appealed for more residential accommodation, or be provided with rent allowance to enable them rent rooms.

Source: GNA

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