Mr Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, Executive Director, Crime Check Foundation (CCF), has appealed to government to facilitate the quick passage of the Alternative Sentencing Bill, which is currently in Parliament after so many years.
He explained that the Bill, if passed into law, would ensure that those, who committed petty offences were given community work instead of being thrown into prisons.
Mr Kwarteng, who is also the Ambassador Extraordinaire of Prisons, was speaking at the launch of Essential Relief International (ERI), an NGO in Accra.
The NGO, among other things, will support the Ghana Prisons Service to champion its reformation and rehabilitation agenda and provide support services to inmates.
“What is the sense in jailing someone, who steals a tuber of yam eight years, when such a person can desilt gutters and sweep the streets of filth,” he added.
He called on government to ensure the proper reintegration of ex-convicts by scrapping the ten years period they have to wait before they could be employed by a government agency.
He said this law was not only cruel and unfair, but had contributed to pushing some of the ex-convicts back into crime.
He, therefore, urged Amnesty International to partner the Foundation in its work to ensure that human rights abuse of prisoners in the country was reduced to the barest minimum.
He said the Foundation fully welcomed the partnership with ERI to screen the ‘Life in Prison’ documentaries in Senior High Schools across the county with the support from the Ministry of Education.
“We believe this partnership will go a long way to enable us reach many more schools and communities,” he added.
The Ambassador Extraordinaire said the Foundation believed that through its joint efforts, many more innocent prisoners would benefit from the work they intended to do for the prisons.
Mr Samuel Agbotsey, Campaign and Fundraising Coordinator, Amnesty International, said the Alternative Sentencing would also decongest the country’s prisons.
He said as a country “we need to do a lot more in our reformation prison agenda.”