Ghana’s criminal justice system is confronted with numerous challenges that inhibit effective and equitable justice delivery in the country. These challenges include lack of effective collaboration and communication among key justice institutions leading to over-population of the prisons by remand prisoners with expired warrants; detention without trial and pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) not having their cases heard within a reasonable time, unreasonable delays in administering of justice caused by frequent adjournments, missing case dockets, and slow processing of documentation due to high caseloads in courts.
The Government of Ghana, in 2018, launched the Case Tracking System (CTS) as part of efforts to address these challenges to improve justice delivery.
The CTS project is to support key justice sector institutions such as the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Attorney-General`s Department, Legal Aid Commission, Economic and Organized Crime Office and Judicial Service to collect, collate and harmonize data for effective justice delivery.
It is also to enable the key justice sector institutions to electronically access and track the various stages of criminal cases from the point of arrest through to investigations, prosecution, conviction, rehabilitation and release. The success of the CTS project requires citizens’ promotion and demand for it use by justice sector institutions.
The Programs Manager of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI – Africa) at a town hall meeting organised by the CHRI at Asokwa in Kumasi on Tuesday April 19, 2022, said “the system will need strong governmental backing to ensure a successful take-off and little has been heard from the side of Government concerning the tracking system. Suffice it to say, institutions involved in the Justice delivery system have shown interest, but we need Government’s commitment and backing to ensure the effective implementation of the system.”
Congestion in the courts and its associated problems remain a major problem affecting justice delivery in Ghana and this has caused stakeholders to call for increase awareness on the need for the ADR Act and Legal Aid Commission Act to be reviewed to include petty criminal offences. They also advocated for acceptance of Victim Offender Mediation as the preferred ADR process for the resolution of petty criminal offences.
The implementing partners of the USAID JSS Activity include Legal Resources Centre, Crime Check Foundation and Inter-regional Bridge Groups.