The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) on Wednesday entreated government, to as a matter of urgency and on humanitarian grounds, increase the GH¢0.4 (¢4,000) daily feeding allowance for the upkeep of a prisoner.
Furthermore, it urged government to provide medical care and facilities for both inmates and officers of the prisons.
These requests formed part of a Resolution adopted by members of the GBA at their just-ended Annual General Conference held in the Eastern Regional capital of Koforidua from October 1 to 3, and read at a Press Conference in Accra.
The theme for the three-day Conference was; "Fifty Years of Administration of Justice in Ghana".
The Resolution was jointly signed by Nii Osa Mills and Mr Peter Zwennes, National President and Secretary respectively of the Association, and read by the President.
It noted that in view of the dilapidated nature of the James Fort Prison which posed a daily danger to both inmates and the officers, there was the urgent need for its immediate closure and the re-location of its inmates.
The Association condemned the spate of mob action in the country, and entreated members of the public to refrain from mob justice.
It asked the National Media Commission to work expeditiously on all complaints before it and maintain up-to-date communication among complainants, the media and the public.
On the energy crisis, the Association noted with grave concern its effects on the national economy, and therefore urged government to put in place lasting policies to prevent the reoccurrence of such crisis.
On politics, the GBA cautioned that, “as we entered 2008 which is the election year, politicians and political parties needed to conduct their campaigns in a transparent and accommodating manner devoid of acrimony, insults, and indecorous utterances.”
On road accidents, the Association expressed concern about the spate of avoidable road accidents, and while appealing to road users to exercise due care and attention on the roads, it urged the Ghana Highway Authority, the Department of Urban Roads, and all other authorities concerned with the supervision of road works, to ensure that the quality of roads met international standards.
Turning to the international scene, the GBA reiterated its condemnation, without reservation, of the genocide in the Sudanese province of Darfur, and appealed to the United Nations and the African Union, to expeditiously resolve the matters there in order to bring lasting peace, human dignity and respect to the affected people.
It urged Third World Nations to negotiate for better and beneficial trade terms with their advanced nation counterparts, in order to pave way for accelerated growth and the development of their economies.
While commending African countries on their desire and efforts to achieve continental government, the Association urged them, as a first step, to work towards speedy economic integration.
The GBA urged government to adequately resource and equip the Police who are key players in the administration of justice, to enable them to combat and effectively deal with the mounting crime wave in the country.
On matters affecting the administration of justice in the country, the Association urged the Judicial Council to revisit the question of the integrity of the judicial system, and to establish an effective monitoring mechanism for ensuring the accountability of Judges in the performance of their judicial functions.
It asked the Judicial Service to review the current professional magistrates' training programme, and consider enticing lawyers to the Bench as Magistrates, instead of the professional magistrates.
Touching on other matters affecting the Nation, the GBA entreated government and the people not only to work hard towards the realisation of the motto: "Freedom and Justice"; but to also rededicate themselves to the ideals of democracy and good governance.
The Association commiserated with all those in areas hit by natural disasters, particularly the recent flooding, and while expressing its sympathies to the families of the victims, it entreated government as well as international aid agencies to redouble their efforts at coming to the aid of these victims.