Home News In-Prison Paralegal Programme workshop opens in Kumasi

In-Prison Paralegal Programme workshop opens in Kumasi

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Ultra-Modern Paralegal Office
Ultra-Modern Paralegal Office

The Perfector of Sentiments Foundation (POS Foundation), a Human Rights Civil Society Organization (CSO) which focuses its activities in the areas of Human Rights Advocacy, Law/Policy Reforms, Youth Development, Criminal Justice, Gender Equity, Women Economic Empowerment and Access to Justice; in partnership with the GIZ Ghana, Ghana Prisons Service and Legal Aid Commission has on Friday, 26th April, 2024 organized a 1/ One-Day Multi-Stakeholder workshop for criminal justice system actors under the theme “Access to Legal Aid; the role of stakeholders towards Prison Decongestion, Challenges and Prospects” at the Miklin Hotel, in Kumasi.

In partnership with the Ghana Prisons Service, and other major stakeholders, the In-Prison Paralegal Programme (IPP) seeks to compliment the Justice for All Programme (JFAP) in its efforts to reduce prison overcrowding by training convict inmates and prison officers as paralegals. This will help convict prisoners who may have received a miscarriage of justice or excessive sentence, and who would otherwise be unable to afford legal representation to appeal their cases on self-representation under Article 19 (2) (f).

The Chairperson

The Chairperson for the workshop, Justice Sir Dennis Dominic Adjei, a court of appeal judge and a judge on the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, charged the Legal Aid Commission not to be selective with the type of cases they come out to represent. He added that, most of the laws in Ghana are not human rights compliance even though the country is signed unto a lot of international conventions and in addition charged judges to respect prisoner who self-represent and grant them bail where necessary.

“Ghana is a signatory to a lot of human rights conventions but most of our laws are not human rights compliance and should be relooked at again; especially considering our position on the world map on human rights”. He stated.

Director of Operations, Ghana Prisons Service

The Director of Prisons, in charge of Operations, DOP/Mr. Samuel Owusu-Amponsah, who represented the Director-General of Prisons, lauded Mr. Jonathan Osei Owusu and his POS Foundation team for working tirelessly from April 2023 to see the success of setting up Paralegal offices in Nsawam Medium Security Prison and now the Kumasi Central Prison.

He went on to add that; “your thoughts, passion and commitment to justice has paved way for a positive change in the correctional system”

“Thanks to POS Foundation and the other stakeholders for rolling out the IPP and making it another avenue for capacity building for both officers and prisoners in terms of legal education and skills acquisition”, he stated.

The Director of Operations, on behalf of the Director General of Prisons, finally reiterated that; “the Paralegal office will serve as a hub for legal assistance, consultation, Advocacy and ensuring that access that access to justice is a core part of criminal justice system. Going forward, Paralegals will work in hand in hand with Legal Aid, Director of Public Prosecutions et al for a collective goal”

 

Director of Public Prosecutions

The office of the DPP, lauded POS Foundation for the IPP and for the office complex. They assured Supt. Samuel Dompreh, in charge of the Paralegal Unit of their support especially in drafting the procedures and also asked them to keep on liaising with the office for the smooth running of affairs.

The workshop brought together representatives from Legal Aid Commission, the German Embassy, Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana Police Service, GIZ Ghana, Office of the Attorney- General and Ministry of Justice/Department of Public Prosecutions, and a cross section of the media.

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