Twenty-Six remand prisoners at the Ho Central Prisons in the Volta Region were cautioned and discharged, after two Courts sat on their cases, under the Justice for All Programme.
The programme was initiated by the Chief Justice in collaboration with the AttorneyGeneral and Minister of Justice to ensure that justice is provided for every citizen, irrespective of one's background and also to help decongest the prisons.
In all, 71 cases were heard, with 26 applicants cautioned and discharged. They were also made to sign a bond to be of good behaviour.
Twenty-four prisoners were granted bail, while 21 others were refused bail. The accused persons had been in prison custody between six months and four years for various crimes, including murder, rape, fraud and illegal possession of drugs.
During the hearings, the charge sheets were amended and bail conditions reviewed to softer terms for the accused persons.
Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Judge of the Court of Appeal, and the Chairman of the Justice for All Programme, told the Ghana News Agency that a closer look at some of the cases indicated that the charges did not support the offence for which they were arrested.
He also observed that there were a lot of drug-related cases in the Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions and urged the youth to avoid drugs and concentrate on their studies or chosen professions.
He also commended the Judicial Staff, the Ghana Prisons Service and other partners in their efforts to ensure justice delivery.
Ms Ama Ahumata, who told the GNA that she was arrested and charged for attempted murder, a crime she did not commit, said she was excited to be discharged.
The Ho Central Prisons was originally built to accommodate 160 inmates but it ended up inhabiting 451 inmates thus stretching the facilities in the prisons.
The Ho Prison, established in 1948, was one of the four Prisons in the then Togoland Territory under United Kingdom Trusteeship and was treated as an integral part of the Prisons system of the then Gold Coast.
It was established to cater for offenders who were convicted for various offences in the Region; and was classified as a Local Prison and for that matter it kept prisoners serving sentences of less than two years only.
The prison was upgraded to a Central Prison when the Ghana Prisons Service became autonomous in 1964.
The Prison is located at the heart of the Ho Bankoe, opposite the Municipal Hospital.
GNA’s information indicates that inmates are imparted with various employable skills that would empower them economically and help them integrate into society after their discharge.
The stations rehabilitative programmes are geared towards Carpentry, Masonry, Block Mouldings, Tailoring, Plumbing, Electricals, ICT, and Kente Weaving. It also offers religious, educational, and counseling programmes.
The Ho Female Prison was established in 1959, according to Togbe Afiatsoa II, Dutor of Ho. He said the female prison was attached to the Male Prison but became autonomous in 1965, when the Prisons Service started appointing prison officers as officers-in charge.