Over 120 remand prisoners have appeared before the Justice For All program as three judges sit in Kumasi Central Prisons to decide their fate.
The two-day sitting is part of efforts to decongest prisons across the country following Joy News documentaries ‘Locked and Forgotten’ and ‘Left To Rot’ which highlighted the inhumane conditions remand prisoners endure.
On Thursday, officials from the US Embassy joined to observe how the ‘Justice For All’ program is run and they could also help in the justice delivery system in Ghana.
In 2015, Joy FM’s Seth Kwame Boateng made a documentary, which tells the stories of shock, pain and sheer neglect of possibly innocent people spending productive hours behind bars.
In response to the documentary, the Chief Justice reactivated the Justice for All Programme which was initiated by the Attorney General and the Ghana Prisons Service (GPS) and aimed at ensuring that hearing is given every citizen, irrespective of one’s social, economic and political background.
The Justice for all programme is a special in-prison court sitting for remand prisoners as well as prisoners whose trials are unreasonably delayed.
The aftermath of Kumasi Central Prison riot
The programme constitutes a key component of the rule of law, access to justice and the sustained promotion and protection of the human rights of prisoners – both remand prisoners and convicted prisoners and officials of the Prisons Service, and by extension their families.
Through the initiative, hundreds of prisoners have been freed from jail and saved the government purse.
Seth Kwame Boateng, who was at the Kumasi Central Prisons explained that a lot of inmates are benefiting now because two years ago, there was a riot at the prison.
“Some of the documents were burnt including their warrants so last year when the Programme came here they could not benefit from it. Some of the prisoners have been here for more than five years,” he said.
According to the reporter, a number of inmates have been granted bail and others have been discharged.