Speaking at a Validation Workshop on the final draft of the Community Service Bill in Accra, the Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry of the Interior, Mrs Doreen Annan disclosed that Ghana will soon introduce Community Sentencing in its jurisprudence to aid legal justice in the country.
According to her, the Bill, when passed into law, will not only strengthen the legal regime of the country but will assist, support, and promote reintegration and resettlement of offenders back into community life as currently reflected by international best practices.
She explained that the term Community Sentence is an alternative punishment to custodial sentencing, where a court convicts an accused person of a minor offence.
The Community Service Bill will see the establishment of the National Community Service Secretariat and its Governing bodies at the National and Local Government levels.
The Director added that to ensure that there is safe custody, reformation, and rehabilitation of convicts, the Ministry of the Interior in partnership with MDAs, MMDAs, CSOs, UN Agencies, Academia, Traditional and Opinion Leaders has initiated several policies and programmes.
According to her, these measures being put in place are to address the congestion in prisons, improve conditions of detention, reduce the occurrence of recidivism as well and promote the reintegration and resettlement of offenders back into community life.
She stated that the Ministry of the Interior will continue its collaboration with the Office of Head of Local Government, Development partners, and CSOs to sensitise and educate presiding and assembly members as well as the public on the Bill.
Mrs. Felicia Dapaah, the Chief Director of the Office of the Local Government Service who also spoke at the workshop added that the Bill will assist Government in decongesting prisons in the country.
The Community Service Bill is spearheaded by the Ministry of the Interior with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and the Perfector of Sentiments Foundation.