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Prison Decongestion is Laudable But Not Sustainable – Ayariga


2007-10-11 22:22:42
This article has been read 754 times.


Mahama Yariga
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, says even though the decongestion exercise in the prisons is a laudable initiative, the reality is that it is not an effective solution to the problem.

He said although it was a way of exposing the problem to find a concrete solution to it, a different approach must be adopted.

In an interview with The Chronicle, the legislator mentioned that some of the laws that we have as a country are unreasonable in terms of the crime that they define.

He cited the road traffic offence an example.

He said an amendment has been proposed to the penalty unit to the effect that if one is arrested for some minor traffic offence or dangerous driving, one will be fined to the tune of about ¢12,000, 000, which is the minimum.

The former Ranking Member on Legal Affairs explained that anything on the roads could be interpreted as dangerous driving and, for ordinary people or workers, if you fine someone for such an amount, it is most unlikely that with the current income levels that person would be unable to pay.

He recalled that his recent visit to the police and prisons indicated that most people are there for relatively minor traffic offences, but because of the definition of the crime, they are unable to pay the fine.

He added that there were other practices like that of accused persons not being arraigned before a court because the police officers had no transportation to take the accused persons to court.

‘So there are broader issues relating to how the system works, which need to be looked at,’ he insisted.

Ayariga stated that the problem of access to justice is a systemic one which we need to think of more comprehensively.

source: Chronicle

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