Ernest Bani – expert in Deviance and Crime is calling for a proper environment to handle corrections and rehabilitation of prisoners. According to him Ghana’s justice system is full of errors and constantly creating deviants in the system.
Mr. Bani’s comment follows the announcement by President Nana Akufo Addo that his government is considering introducing non-custodial sentences that use community service programs to reform petty crime offenders.
Nana Addo said the reforms would serve the dual purpose of providing the appropriate punishment for an offence, while getting some public good out of the service that would be required of the convict.
Mr Bani in an interview with Melody News, said demographic factors should be considered in the punishment meted out to offenders. “Because what are the demographic factors one uses to imprison somebody? He queried.
“So we should look at certain offenses that we should prescribe non-custodial sentencing and others that we should prescribe custodial sentences”.
Envisaged in the reforms in the justice system announced by government would be the introduction of the use of community service programs to reform petty crime offenders; this is contentious, as some activists deem it as forced labour.
Mr Bani believes the prisons as it is now does not reform inmates and thus calling on authorities to invest in social centers where corrections can take place.
“We should rather give them house arrest or put them in a social home whereby corrections can take place….the lower courts may be giving them punishment as such”.
He gave the suggestion that “if you put one in prison, and bringing him again to come and work, you cannot punish someone twice for an offence committed and it is against the measurement of criminology”.
Mr Bani was also against prisoners working for private entities. “You see prisoners going to individual private hopes to work, for who, to benefit?”
“So we should put a proper environment, a proper framework, because sometimes if you go to the prisons, and you look at the type of crimes committed and you give the person sentence, I think we are going over the bar”
By:Joe Bright Nyarko