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    Hand over names of judges noted for remanding suspects – Chief Justice instructs

    VThe Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo has instructed that names of all judges noted for always remanding suspects are submitted to her for immediate action.

    She has declared that no prisoner in Ghana will be “locked and forgotten” adding she will ensure that nobody is denied justice in the country especially people in pretrial detention.

    The Chief Justice said this on Friday when she joined the Justice for All Program sitting in the Tamale Central Prisons where cases of about two remand prisoners will be heard.

    Justice Akuffo has been touring the three Northern regions this week and has already been to Upper East, Upper West and is currently in the Northern region.

    Friday’s sitting also coincided with CJ’s visit making her the first Chief Justice to witness in the Justice For All hearing. The program was revitalized two years ago following Joy News’ documentaries ‘Locked and Forgotten’ and ‘Left to Rot’ by Seth Kwame Boateng.

    The documentaries highlighted the congestion and inhumane conditions in which especially remand prisoners live. Addressing the inmates and officers of the Tamale Prisons, Justice Sophia Akuffo said the Justice For All program has come to stay to address some of these human rights abuses.

    She said she has instructed that persons who are habitual ‘remanders’ are noted because “remand is not really intended to be a very regular part of the criminal justice administration system.”

    “We need to make a major impact to ensure that whatever causes these remands is dealt with.” The Chief Justice also added a team has been put together to quickly look into how non-custodial sentencing can be introduced in Ghana to ease the serious congestion in prisons across the country.

    “Whatever the judicial service can do in terms of policy, advocacy or reformed practices that will reduce the unnecessary imprisonment and will establish simple alternatives to imprisonment.”

    Seth Kwame Boateng reports that inmates of the prison were excited because most of the issues they had, were spoken to by the Chief Justice.

    The number of remand prisoners has reduced to 73 from over 100 after the documentary was aired two years ago. The reporter said more people are being granted bail after the hearing.

    Administrators of the prison also took the opportunity to tell her some of their problems including congestion and inadequate feeding fees per day.

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