It has emerged that about 830 remand prisoners have been discharged between 2007 and 2019 under the Justice for All Programme.
The figure represents some 18.72 per cent of the 4,435 remand prisoners who appeared before the court sittings which were held in the Akuse Male Prison, Sekondi Central Prison and the Koforidua Local Prisons.
Statistics from the Ghana Prisons Service suggest that about 1,571 prisoners were also granted bail while 171 of them were convicted.
According to them, the remaining 1,863 cases and many were dismissed while a few others were also referred to the psychiatric hospital.
Justice for All
The Justice for All Programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department. It was introduced in Ghana in 2007 to help promote access to justice and speedy trial of cases of remand prisoners.
The remand prisoners include inmates whose cases have not been determined by the law courts and not convicted and are therefore awaiting the courts to determine their fate by either acquittal or imprisonment.
The Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Prisons Service, Chief Supt Courage Atsem, who spoke in a media interview said the initiative had a positive impact on the operations of the service, particularly with regard to issues of congestion and the challenges which came with transporting inmates from the prisons to the court.
He added that the programme also helped in addressing challenges the service faced.
“This programme seeks justice to whom justice has been denied. We know justice delayed is justice denied and for someone to be on remand for a long period of time without trial is unacceptable and doesn’t speak well of the country’s justice,” he argued.
Mr Atsem said the introduction of such an initiative was a great move which would help address the weaknesses in the country’s justice system.
He said due to the COVID-19 pandemic the programme was halted last year to prevent any external contact with the inmates but was optimistic that with the current COVID-19 situation in the country, the initiative would soon take off.