Judge Mavis Kwainoe from Accra Central District Court, Ghana, attended an international judicial conference on women, prisons, and gender-based violence in Washington D.C. held by Cornell Law School’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.
The Avon Global Center for Women and Justice works with judges, legal professionals, and governmental and non-governmental organizations worldwide to improve access to justice in an effort to eliminate violence against women and girls. The 2015 Women and Justice Conference focused on women, prison, and gender-based violence, and the role that judges can play in addressing the causes, conditions, and consequences of women’s imprisonment.
Speaking about participating in the conference on April 14 and 15, Judge Kwainoe said, “This was a very enriching program on ways to eliminate violence against women at the pre-trial level, during trial and also after conviction. As judges, we have realized we have a role to affect the lives of persons we sentence to avoid revictimization.”
For judges to address gender-based violence, Judge Kwainoe believes that, “we need to constantly build our capacity on the subject, train all stakeholders – e.g. police, prosecutors, prisons officials, the judiciary and the community – on the root causes of the menace and ways to stop it. Judges could arrange mandatory visits to prisons to see the conditions and reduce the sentences.”
Professor Elizabeth Brundige, Executive Director of the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, said “the two days have been very exciting, with judges from five continents sharing their insights and brainstorming ways to alleviate the negative consequences that women’s imprisonment has on women and their families.”
“The Avon Global Center for Women and Justice believes that conferences such as these offer an important opportunity to share lessons, recognize best practices, and encourage the essential endeavors that judges undertake to address gender-based violence. More information about the work we do with judges is available on www.womenandjustice.org .”
W & J CONFERENCE GROUP PHOTO