Community service

Accelerate passage of Community Services Bill to reduce overcrowding in prisons – Forum

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The Attorney General’s Department and other relevant institutions involved in passing the Community Service Bill have been urged to speed up the process to control overcrowding in various prisons across the country.

The bill, which is currently in the office of the Attorney General, seeks to provide for community service as an alternative to custodial sentence for those convicted of certain offenses considered misdemeanors.

The bill is expected to encourage non-custodial sentences for minor offenses and help reduce pressure in prisons when it is signed into law.

It is in this spirit that participants at a forum in the Bantama Sub-Metro in Kumasi called for urgent action to pass the bill.

They argued that the bill would not only unclog prisons, but also prevent unnecessary incarceration of certain offenders whose crime did not warrant imprisonment.

The forum was part of USAID’s Justice Sector Support Project implemented in 40 districts in seven regions, focused on monitoring and sustaining the implementation of the Case Tracking System (CTS) of the Ghana.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the CTS also seeks to track cases within justice sector institutions and therefore prosecute criminal cases to improve service delivery. justice.

A consortium of three civil society organizations, including the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the Crime Check Foundation (CCF) and the Legal Resource Center (LRC), implements the project through local CSOs at the of the district.

As part of efforts to improve the delivery of justice in the country, the project also advocates the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms to resolve petty crimes as well as the passage of the Criminal Justice Bill. community services.

The forum on the Community Service Bill was therefore organized by Muslim Family Counseling Services, a local CHRI partner, to generate public interest to facilitate its passage.

Mr. Tijani Mahmoud, program director of Muslim Family Counseling Services, said keeping petty offenders in prison only worsens poor conditions in overcrowded facilities, while burdening the taxpayer for their upkeep.

These people, he said, might instead contribute to community development by undertaking community service as a form of punishment.

He said there were people in prison because they could not pay the fines imposed on them by the courts, which added to the congestion when they could be asked to perform community service.

Source: GNA

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