The Centre for Social and Development Reform (CSD Reform) in partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Tamale on Wednesday launched the “Harnessing Opportunities for Ex-offenders” (HOPE), project to help remand prisoners.
The two-year project, funded by the Misereor was an initiative targeted at promoting inclusive development to ensure that no one is left behind as stipulated by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr David Issaka, the Executive Director of the CSD reform said the overall goal of the project was to offer improved access to justice for remand prisoners, community reintegration for those released, restoration of human dignity and economic opportunities for them in Tamale by 2020.
Mr Frank Gerald Zienaa, a board member of the CSD Reform said many Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have had no interest in supporting prison inmates and ex-offenders to access economic and social opportunities despite the efforts of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) to promote integral human development in the country.
He stressed that, the lack of interest had resulted in exclusion and marginalization of prisoners and ex-offenders from social interventions and this motivated the development of the project. “Through this project, the CSD Reform would inspire to create demonstrable change in the lives of beneficiaries and its successful implementation would be the CSD Reform’s contribution to Ghana’s efforts of achieving the SDGs”, he said.
The Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the Arch Bishop of the Tamale Diocese of the Catholic Church said the restoration and reintegration of prisoners and ex-convicts was a concern to the church and that informed the reason the Catholic Church agreed to partner to initiate the project to address issues of injustice and lack of economic opportunities.
Mr Issah Mohammed, a lawyer with the Legal Aid in Tamale mentioned that, the ex-convicts had a vital role in the integration process by proving to their families and society that, they were changed people.
He lamented about the congestions of prisons and the inhumane conditions prison inmates live explaining that, some of these people got there by no fault of theirs but had to end there because they were not heard and were denied their rights.
CSD Reform is an NGO working towards the promotion of social inclusion and economic justice for the poor and vulnerable groups in Northern Ghana.