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“Pass The Non-Custodial Sentencing Bill Into Law” – CCF To Gov’t

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

The Leadership of Crime Check Foundation (CCF), a non-governmental organization (NGO) is calling on the Akufo-Addo government to pass the non-custodial sentencing bill into law.

According to the CCF, the passage will allow judges who preside over cases resort to other sentencing options for persons who commit minor offenses.

Speaking at a Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy project organised by Crime Check Foundation (CCF) and Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA) in Accra on Wednesday, the Executive Director of CCF, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng said “CCF is calling for the passage of the Non-Custodial Sentencing Bill into Law. This will ensure that judges have other sentencing options such as community service; sweeping, and desilting of choked gutters among others”

He further stated that it is sad to see some vagrants and other poor persons being thrown into jail because they were unable to pay a fine which was slapped at them.

“This is because our prisons are congested with deplorable conditions. We are therefore joining forces with the media and other CSOs in this agenda to ensure this bill is passed to allow more judges to impose fines rather than just custodial sentences.

Speaking on partnership for justice delivery, Mr. Oppong Kwarteng noted that his outfit recommends sensitization on MMDA bye-laws for citizens should be prioritized and carried out.

He pointed out that in that regard, other stakeholders such as various media houses and local businesses should support efforts to improve citizens’ knowledge of the laws, consistent with SDG goal 13; access to justice for all.

Stressing on prioritizing the needs of vagrants and the poor in the society, Mr. Oppong Kwarteng mentioned that it is important the actual needs of vagrants are factored into the development plans of MMDAs and delivered.

Pointing out the key-findings by his outfit, the Executive Director said “Monitoring actions and other project activities have revealed some issues that CCF wants to bring to the attention of the public and the relevant institutions for redress”

He noted that the issues have the potential to increase poverty not just for the affected but the country as a whole.

“Vagrants/poor persons lack knowledge of Assembly bye-laws/legal provisions that affect them. Section 181 of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) confers power on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to make bye-laws for their local jurisdictions”

He mentioned that the bye-laws cover licenses for business operations, sanitation, fees, offences as well as punishments.

He cited the inability of some MMDAs to provide education on the laws for their citizens.

The Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy project which seeks to create an enabling environment for 'vagrants' (the homeless, street hawkers, head porters, truck pushers, and market market women) to know, claim and exercise their rights and responsibilities in Ghana was funded by Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA).

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith



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