CHRAJ Boss advised to make unannounced visits to prison

The Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, has called on the Commissioner of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice(CHRAJ) to consider making periodic unannounced visits to the prisons.

“I would like to appeal to the Commission to consider making periodic unannounced visits to the prison to witness at first hand the conditions of inmates,” Kwarteng said.

The appeal comes on the back of reports on congested prison cells and the violations of the fundamental human rights of prisoners in the country.

In a 2018 report conducted by the Ghana Prison Service, it was revealed that more than half of prisoners are within the economically active population.

“What is more worrying is the fact of young persons between the ages of 18-25 constitutes 50.68%, which is more than half of the total number of inmates, admitted into custody,” Chief PRO of the Ghana Prisons Service, Chief Superintendent Courage Atsem expressed to theghanareport.com in an earlier interview.

Mr Kwarteng maintained that’ oftentimes security institutions hide under the guise of security to refuse media access into their facility, prison yards and as a result, some violations fall on the blindside of the media and institutions like CHRAJ”

The Executive Director, who was conferred an ambassador Extraordinaire of Ghana Prisons in 2016 said his position, offered him the rare opportunity to visit prison yards and interact with inmates.

” I have seen the side that they try to hide away from the media” he noted.

He stressed that  CHRAJ’s periodic visit to the prisons will help put the prison service on their toes, therefore, minimizing the violations of the rights of inmates.

” I was at the Kumasi remand block recently and I must say the place is choked, inmates are kept in there for various reasons, some because of missing dockets, prosecutors been transferred and so many other reasons,” he said when a team from the “decriminalizing vagrancy laws advocacy project” which Crime Check Foundation is a partner,  paid a courtesy call on him in Accra on August,11,2021.

Project Duration

The one-year project will be rolled out in 12 local government assemblies in three regions; Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Central.

“We have begun with the mapping, and we are engaging with the various district assemblies in the selected regions and the leadership of vagrants,” said Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, the Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation and a member of the advocacy team.

The project will sensitize more than a thousand vagrants about their rights and responsibilities to prevent any misunderstandings with the assemblies.

“In order not to seem as we are inciting vagrants against the district assemblies and the central government, we will also educate them about their duties as patriotic citizens,” he added.

Monitoring and Evaluation

To monitor the progress and effectiveness of the project, a contact centre will be created after the sensitization to address the concerns of vagrants at the partnering organization, Crime Check Foundation.

According to Mr Kwarteng, the police will also be engaged to monitor the progress of the project.

The project runs from May 2021 to May 2022.

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