Ghanaian prisons in general have been bedeviled with overcrowding. Especially in this Covid 19 era, it is very important the numbers are reduced or more prisons are built. It is against such developments that Cabinet is considering community service bill according to the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
The Ghanaian prison system is already an albatross on the neck of the government. However, some persons in the legal fraternity have brought out varying arguments.
In addition to the plethora of views, there have been calls for community service to be ingrained and enforced in our laws.
This would therefore be an attempt to to get the prisons de congested and in effect prevent overcrowding.
Cabinet considering the Community service bill
Speaking at a press briefing Mr. Oppong Nkrumah intimated that Cabinet is working assiduously on a community sentencing proposal. This policy document could have such a system running alongside corporal imprisonment.
He thus revealed that Ghana doesn’t have a community sentencing policy, but the success of this document could make all these options useful.
“You know in Ghana we don’t have a community sentencing policy… If successful, when Cabinet is [assessing] laws, all of these become options that can be embarked upon,” he stated.
When all legislation and deliberations are completed, it would mean that sometimes a convicted person could do some of these services rather than languishing in jail.
Similarly, Director of Prisons in charge of Operations, Isaac Kofi Egyir also revealed that their outfit, Ghana Prisons Service has made contributions to the document that would augment its passage.
Furthermore, he therefore went on to say that the time is apt that all and sundry join the fight to get the community service bill passed.
“We in the Ghana Prisons Service have been strong advocates for quick passage of the law that regulate non-custodial sentences. I think that this is the right time that we all put our hands together to get this passed as quickly as possible to save the situation. We have made our inputs and it has gotten to the appropriate authorities and it is being worked on.”
However, on the contrary, Supreme Court judge nominee, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu has called for building of more prison facilities across the country. According to her, it would help to decongest Ghana’s prisons.
BY: ONESIPHORUS OBUOBI