Pardon convicted non-violent drug users to decongest prisons – POS Foundation



The Executive Director of POS Foundation, Jonathan Osei Owusu, has called on the government to grant amnesty to non-violent drug users convicted before the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Act to help decongest the country’s overcrowded Ghanaian Prisons.

The Human Rights Activist while commending the Ghana Prisons Service for preventing the spread of COVID-19 across prisons in the country after donating protective equipment, food items, and medicines to the Tarkwa Local Prison, said the decongestion of prisons will help prevent the spread of the diseases among inmates.

“We call on the President to activate Article 72 to grant mercy to non-violent drug users who were convicted before the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, Act, 1019. We know that the Amnesty criteria do not include drug offenders, and we are asking the President and the Prison Council to revise the criteria so that non-violent drug users including petty offenders can receive amnesty. This will ensure a decongestion of the prisons that will minimize the impact should COVID-19 enter the prisons,“ he said.

Jonathan Osei Owusu of the POS Foundation which is also the lead advocate for the passage of the Community Service Bill also called on the government to speed up the passage of the Community Service Bill.

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“We call on the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, and the Prisons Council for the passage of the Community Service Bill currently at the Ministry of Interior and activate a Legislative and Constitutional Instrument for Probation and Parole respectively. This will contribute significantly to the decongestion of Ghana’s Prisons by giving offenders a second chance to reform, hence, serving as an alternative to incarceration as per best practice in other jurisdictions”, he added.

He further indicated that the POS Foundation and its partners, together with its donor agencies are willing to support the State for non-violent Convicted Drug Users who may need treatment to go through a period of rehabilitation and treatment within the pardon process period which is also in accordance with the new Narcotics Control Commission Law 2020 and international best practices.

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