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Joe Ghartey pushes for decongestion of prisons to fight COVID-19

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Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan constituency, Joe Ghartey, is pushing for the immediate decongestion of prisons and cells across Ghana to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

The former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice during whose tenure the Justice For All Programme was introduced, believes prisons nationwide ought to be decongested so as to control Coronavirus spread.

Joe Ghartey, reported to be nursing presidential ambitions for the next general elections, made the call for the decongestion of prisons in a Facebook post.

“In this COVID-19 era, the need to decongest prisons in Ghana, has become much more urgent. People are in prison who should not be there and people have been given custodial sentences who should not. Over a decade ago, the Justice for All Project was launched to amongst others, ensure the decongestion of the prisons.

“The fact that sentencing is still an issue means that we have done a lot but there is still a lot more to do. Since coming events cast their shadows, the Attorney-General’s clarity of thought in his recent meeting with the Chief Justice where the sentencing policy was discussed is welcome,” Joe Ghartey wrote.

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in March 2020, Ghana has recorded a total of  725 Covid19 related deaths.

A total of 89,682 confirmed cases have been recorded in Ghana.

In 2020, Ghana pardoned about 794 prisoners as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a statement by the Ghana Prisons Service at the time, the prisoners were pardoned with the approval of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

They comprised people who had been arrested for the first time, were seriously ill or aged 70 and above, the statement indicated then.

Prior to the pardoning of the 794 prisoners, 808 prisoners had been pardoned as part of Ghana’s COVID-19 prevention measures.

There had been reported confirmed cases of Coronavirus recorded among inmates in police cells and prisons.

And with recent sparks in Covid19 cases in Ghana, Mr Ghartey, an astute lawyer believe further decongesting the prisons is the way to go.

“It is my hope that non-custodial sentences become very much a part of our sentencing policy during the tenure of this Attorney-General,” he added.

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