Amnesty International advises government to find alternatives to prison sentence
4/26/2012 2:00:33 AM -
Accra, April 25, GNA - Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday advised the Government to consider the option to use non-custodial penalties like fines, parole and community service to reduce problem of overcrowding in the country's prisons.
The advice was based on a 52-page research finding conducted in September 2011 by AI in the country's prisons which revealed that lack of adequate sanitation, overcrowding, lack of access to lawyers, violations of due process, inadequate food and water supplies as some serious conditions that bedeviled inmates and prisons in Ghana.
Presenting highlights of the research findings to journalists in Accra, Mr James Welsh, Researcher and Adviser on Health and Detention of AI, Head Office in London, said the deplorable conditions did not meet international standards.
He said currently, more than 3,000 inmates, who had not been convicted, were on remand awaiting trial.
Mr Welsh observed that most prison buildings were old and had limited floor space which made the inmates looked like 'packed sardines.'
He opined that punishment meted out to offenders needed not to be adversarial or excessively retributive but must reform them.
Mr Lawrence Amesu, Director of AI, Ghana, said the research was to ascertain human rights situation in the country's prisons and to find out whether they met international standards.
He said copies of the findings had been submitted to the Ministry of Information and plans were far advanced to meet the Chief Justice, Attorney General's Department, Minister of the Interior and Ghana Prisons Service to discuss the report.