53 remand prisoners granted bail under “Justice for all programme”
This follows a two-day in-prison hearing for some remand prisoners held at the prison premises.
The in-hearing event, which took place in two separate courts, were presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, Chairman of the programme and Justice Angelina Mensah Homiah.
A total of 105 remand prisoners applied for consideration but 20 of them were refused bail while seven were discharged.
These included remand prisoners whose cases have been pending in the courts for far too long.
The judges further struck out a total of 15 cases, convicted two and referred eight others for psychiatric treatment.
Justice Honyenuga, who gave the figures to the media after the hearing, described the exercise as successful and thanked all stakeholders for their cooperation.
He said steps were being taken to release remand prisoners granted bail last year under the programme but still remained in custody because they could not meet the bail terms.
He disclosed that defrauding by false pretences dominated the cases brought before them and cautioned the public to be wary of people parading themselves as visa and employment contractors.
Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP) Nelson Duut, the Ashanti Regional Prions Commander, said the programme was a key intervention to decongest the overcrowded prisons across the country.
He said the number of prisoners in custody were far more than the available facilities could contain and called for more of such initiatives to address the situation.
Mr. Jonathan Osei Owusu, Executive Director of POS Foundation, said the programme targeted remand prisoners, who had to stay in custody for far too long awaiting the conclusion of their respective cases.
He said the remand population in the Kumasi Prison alone was over 400, saying not all of them may be guilty of the charges, hence the need to give them the opportunity to be heard.
This would ensure that they are not denied justice while decongesting the already overstretched facility.
The programme, a joint initiative between the Judicial Service, Office of the Attorney-General, the Ghana Prison Service, Ghana Police Service and POS Foundation, a civil society organization, seeks to address overcrowding in Ghana’s prisons.
It is common for as many as 50 inmates to share a cell designed to accommodate 12 prisoners.
The introduction of the JFAP, however, significantly reduced the remand population in various prisons across the country from 33 per cent in 2007 to 13.2 per cent as at June 2017, according to statistics from the Ghana Prison Service.