A 16-year-old juvenile, who spent three months on remand at the Ho Central Prison in the Volta Region, has been discharged under the Justice for All Programme (JFAP).
The juvenile had been on remand since July 2017 on a charge of stealing a mobile phone.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Constance Hometowu of the High Court, discharged the juvenile and asked him to get enrolled in school, study hard and contribute his quota to the development of Ghana.
Justice Hometowu, therefore, cautioned him to stay out of trouble and be of good behaviour.
The boy pledged to adhere to the advice of the Judge.
In all, 47 cases were heard at the Ho Central Prison, with 25 applicants granted bail, 15 refused bail, one application struck out whilst two persons were referred for psychiatric treatment.
The accused persons had been in prison custody between three months to six years for crimes, including murder, rape, stealing, defilement, assault, manslaughter and possession of narcotic substances.
The Justice for All Programme, established in 2007, seeks to decongest the various prisons by setting up special courts to adjudicate remand prisoner cases.
It is under the auspices of the Ghana Remand Review Taskforce (RRT), made up of the Judicial Service of Ghana, the office of the Attorney-General, Ghana Prisons and the Ghana Police Service.
The programme is being facilitated by POS Foundation, a human rights advocacy organisation with funding from the Danish International Development Agency. At the Kpando Local Prison in the Volta Region, 10 remand cases were adjudicated.
Eight remand prisoners were granted bail, one refused bail while one was referred for psychiatric treatment.
Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Judge at the Court of Appeal, and the Chairman of the RRT, told Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the programme had chalked successes since its inception 10 years ago.
He said mechanisms were being put in place to enable the discharged prisoners to become beneficial to society, adding that over 3,000 people had benefited from the programme.
Jonathan Osei-Owusu, the Executive Director of POS Foundation, said the NGO served as a legal aid for the remand prisoners by providing paralegals and lawyers to represent them during the sitting.
He said a survey conducted by the Foundation revealed that most prisoners in the country had skin diseases and bodily pains and it has, over the years, screened the prisoners and provided medications.
Victor Agbelengor, the Deputy Director of Prisons in charge of the Volta Region, commended the stakeholders for the exercise and said it would help decongest the prisons.
The Ho Central Prison was built to accommodate 150 inmates but now accommodates more than 450.
The Kpando Local Prison, which was also built to accommodate 70 inmates, currently has more than 220.
Source: Peace FM Reference: http://www.peacefmonline.com/pages/local/social/201709/328719.php