The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is advocating lighter sentences for persons convicted of petty crimes like stealing foodstuff.
Deputy Commissioner Richard Quayson says the current practice where people are handed lengthy custodial sentence for what he calls minor offences in forms such as stealing of goats, foodstuffs among others must be addressed.
Speaking at a forum on non-custodial sentence in Accra, Mr Quayson said although punishment for stealing is a custodial sentence, the laws should be amended to cater for certain trivial situations.
“Some cases…a person just take a meal or go to somebody’s farm to take something to satisfy a serious hunger and the charge is stealing and therefore, imprisonment [but] I still believe that is not our sense of what is fair. All of us here must take this exercise seriously,” he said.
The CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner was also reacting to a story shared at the forum where an inmate was jailed for three months together with her mother and sister and her little daughter, who is few months old, for stealing half a bag of maize.
Speaking at the programme, the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo acknowledged the situation of the woman and her family and advised that the sentence is appealed.
“This is such a simple matter so I am expecting you to act on it so next week by this time things would have been resolved,” she told the representatives of Perfector Of Sentiments (POS), the human rights group that shared the story.