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General News
Report on Prisom conditions released 10/16/2007
Accra Oct. 5, GNA - Congestion and over population in the country''s prisons were serious human and social problems that needed urgent attention by stakeholders in the criminal justice system, a report released by the Judicial Service said on Friday.

It said though the Ghana Prisons Services facilities could only house 8,004, there were 13,685 prisoners out of which 4,210 are persons on remand awaiting trial. There are twenty prisons across the country. The report was the result of a recent visit by the Attorney General and the Chief Justice to the James Fort Prisons to find out how best to tackle the problem of congestion in the nation''s prisons.

It noted that some remand prisoners had been in custody between two to eight years citing the case of a remand prisoner who had been in custody without trial for the past 10 years for an alleged murder. "What is even inhuman, regrettable, unjust and legally indefensible is that some of these accused persons have not been before courts that initially remanded them in custody, or any court of competent jurisdiction for that matter, for more than two, three, four or five years."

According to the report, there were many narcotic cases that had also not been disposed off for over three years although the accused persons were in prison custody.

It said some people accused of unlawful entry into the country had been in custody without trial for nearly two years while in the case of one remand prisoner, he had been in custody for nearly two years on a charge of assault.

The report pointed out that some remand prisoners had had their cases before wrong courts (that is court without jurisdiction to deal with such cases).

It therefore recommended to magistrates and Judges who preside over such cases to be conscious of their jurisdiction and decline in "appropriate cases" so as not to waste their own time and that of the accused persons.Source:

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