The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood says “she will use her ‘legitimate powers’ after retirement to improve on prison rights in the country.”
“I will continue to advocate the transformation in the prison reforms and for the improvement of the justice delivery mechanisms,” she added.
Mrs Wood was speaking after the exercise on the “Justice For All Programme”, held at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons in the Eastern Region.
After the exercise, seven remand inmates were discharged, 41 were granted bail for various offences but four were refused bail. Three cases were struck out and five inmates were referred for Psychiatry treatment.
The programme, an initiative of the Judiciary, with support from the Office of the Attorney-General, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana Bar Association, is aimed at decongesting the prisons of remanded prisoners.
About 58 remand prisoners participated in the exercise.
Mrs Wood commended the team responsible for the programme, including Justice Clemence Honyenuga, of the Court of Appeal, the para-legal team from the POS Foundation, the facilitators and other stakeholders for the success achieved so far, after 10 years of inception.
The Chief Justice said it was unfortunate that the state had not been able to protect the human rights of prisoners and commended donor partners, especially DANIDA for its support in providing quality justice delivery and improving reforms in prisons.
Mrs Wood together with Mrs Tove Degnbol, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana visited the condemned Cells and the remand block of the prison on a fact finding tour of the facilities.
The Chief Justice would proceed on the compulsory retirement June 8, 2017, after serving the state in public office for 47 years in various capacities.
Mr Patrick Darko Missah, the Acting Director-General of the Ghana Prisons Service said the programme had reduced the remand population from 72 per cent to 13.7 per cent since the inception in 2007.
He said one of the major challenges of the inmates under the programme was the inability to meet the bail bonds and sureties and commended stakeholders for the various efforts to decongest the prisons.
Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecutions called for greater collaboration to drive the justice delivery agenda of the state.
She said the programme had achieved a considerable success in the criminal justice delivery and by reducing the remand population.
Mrs Degnbol said Ghana could do much better with the Justice delivery mechanism available and called on the government to work on its legal framework.
She called on government to also reconsider the strategies and mechanisms to transform the prisons systems with the introduction of community services.
She also raised concerns with police investigations in criminal cases saying “it leaves much to be desired.”