Implementing community sentencing is not bad at all!


 THE judiciary’s role in a democratic dispensation cannot be overemphasised.  Especially when it is the arm of government that seeks to interpret the laws and settle disputes between feuding parties.


AND after trying cases in courts, the judiciary equally ensures that appropriate sentences/punishments are meted out to offending parties.  The object of which is to serve as a deterrent to others from committing same or other crimes.


IT is in the light of instituting punishments against people who are found culpable that it has been suggested that the judiciary looks at community sentencing regarding certain offences committed in this country.


WE recall an editorial on the subject matter—community sentencing—which was advocated by the Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, in which he called on judges to consider meting out community sentencing to particularly people who violate sanitation bye-laws in this country.


FOR instance, as a way of preventing people from indulging in littering about indiscriminately offenders in such a backward behaviour could be asked to sweep public places for a specific period.  And such an offender should be instructed to serve this punishment in the full public glare.


IT is in the wake of the above that Today sees as refreshing the move by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, towards initiating processes for the amendment of the sentencing of the Criminal Procedure Act.


ACCORDING to the CJ, this will pave way for judges to sentence convicts to community service.  One may ask: what is community sentencing?  It is basically a voluntary work intended to engage in service.


IN other words, an unpaid work, intended to be of social use which an offender is required to do instead of going to prison.


ON Community service, I will be very happy if we have more opportunity to sentence people to community service and if you’ve been listening to the news in the past months there have been a number of programmes to discuss the amendment to the sentencing provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act to make it possible for community service to be ordered in lieu of imprisonment,” the CJ was reported to have said while speaking at a mentoring programme in Koforidua early last week.


IT is one form of punishment that we on Today believe, if well executed, could help decongest our prisons.  And this must be applied on people who commit minor/petty offences.


AND in the view of Today, community sentencing would serve a greater purpose in ensuring that our environs are always clean when applied in that sector.  Therefore, we would like to use this space to encourage the CJ to fast-track whatever plans her outfit has started towards making sure that community/non-custodial sentencing gets enough space in our criminal justice system.



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