African Women Lawyers Association mobilizes support for improved justice delivery in Ghana

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The Executive Director for the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), Madam Edna Kuma has urged students of the Ghana Law School to endeavor to ensure speedy justice delivery for the voiceless when they qualify as lawyers.

Speaking at the Nsawam Minimum Security Prison in the Eastern Region of Ghana on May 22, 2019, Madam Edna Kuma said, “it would only take the sacrifice and commitment of lawyers to achieve quick justice delivery for the poor in Ghana”.

She therefore entreated the students to provide free legal services for the voiceless once they become lawyers.

WLA’s Justice Delivery Project

AWLA, in collaboration with the Students Representative Council of the Ghana Law School embarked on the visit to the Nsawam Minimum Security Prisons as part of the implementation of its OSIWA-funded “Enhancing Justice Delivery through Innovative & Participatory Approaches” project.

The objective of the visit which comes on the heels of an engagement with the final year students of the Ghana Law School (Makola) and the GIMPA Law School in 2018, was to expose the students to some of the issues that affected timely and adequate justice delivery for remand and other categories of prisoners in Ghana.

According to the Executive Director, AWLA tracked the implementation of the Justice for All Program (JFAP), a state intervention that sought to ensure justice for remand prisoners and reduce overcrowding in Ghana’s prisons as part of the implementation of the AWLA-OSIWA partnership.

She noted that, while JFAP has considerably reduced the remand population in the prisons, there were some issues that deserved the response and action of the stakeholders in justice delivery for the sake of the voiceless who are ‘crying’ for timely justice in the prisons.

She stated that, the long time lapse between JFAP court sittings in the prisons, inability of remand prisoners to meet bail terms though bail conditions were reviewed downward under JFAP, ignorance about bail, lack of adequate legal representation for remand prisoners, bribery allegations against the police, the deliberate denial of opportunity to remand prisoners to learn life skills such as weaving under the excuse that “remand prisoners have not been convicted”, and the meager feeding grant of GHS1.80 per day which does not ensure adequate and nutritious food for prisoners as few of the reasons why supervisory institutions must act, and more lawyers needed for pro bono cases for the voiceless.

Public Appeal by Nsawam Prisons

According to ASP Latif, the Public Relations Officer of the Nsawam Minimum Security Prisons, the prison currently needs funds to meet various needs, including the registration of inmates students for the WASSCE/Nov/Dec Exams as well as white board markers for effective teaching and learning.

He, therefore, appealed to the general public and benevolent organizations to support the Nsawam Prisons to transform the prisoners by the time the leave prison.

Source: Cosmos Akorli

 

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