Judges storm Obuasi prison to hear cases of the forgotten
A team of judges has arrived at the Obuasi prison in the Ashanti Region as part of efforts to expedite the hearing of cases of remand prisoners.
The two judges are expected to hear the cases of remand prisoners and determine whether or not to acquit them or grant them bail.
The action is part of the ‘Justice For All programme’ that was instituted by former Minister for Justice, Joe Ghartey in 2007 and revived by Chief Justice Georgina Wood in 2015 after a Joy News documentary detailing cases of people languishing in jail without trial.
The programme is an initiative aimed at alleviating prison overcrowding through setting up special courts sittings to adjudicate remand prisoner cases in prisons throughout the country.
It had become dormant but in two documentaries produced by Seth Kwame Boateng, [Locked and Forgotten’ and ‘Left To Rot] the inhumane conditions prisoners have to endure in the overcrowded prisons were revealed, causing the Chief Justice to revive the programme.
Friday's programme at Obuasi seeks to reduce the over 200 percent congestion rate at the prison. Statistics also reveal that about 75 percent of these are remand cases.
In March 2015, 18 prisoners were freed under the programme at the Koforidua prison in the Eastern Region.
Some of the suspects had spent between three to five years on remand for crimes that would probably have attracted less custodial sentence if they were convicted.
The same programme has taken place in various prisons across the country and has seen many inmates either freed or granted bail. Some were however sentenced.