The much-talked-about community sentencing policy is currently under consideration by Ghana’s Cabinet.
This was exclusively disclosed by the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah during Thursday’s press briefing.
He suggested that Cabinet is open to the policy which, when successful, would allow a convicted person to carry out some activities in the community as a form of punishment.
“You know in Ghana we don’t have a community sentencing policy… If successful, when Cabinet is [assessing] laws, all of these become options that can be embarked upon,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said.
The community sentencing policy ensures criminal justice is served and the offender punished without having to serve jail time.
Here are five things to expect should Ghana’s Cabinet approve the policy:
1. Unpaid work
This is what many refer to as community service. The offender is made to payback the community by undertaking some works. It could be in the form of helping to keep the community clean or even taking up other roles without pay.
2. Undertaking rehabilitation activity
This is usually for offenders who have suffered some form of addiction or are undergoing mental stress. With the offender’s consent, he or she could be made to undertake alcohol or a drug rehabilitation treatment.
3. Facing house arrest
The house arrest option, also known as home detention, is where authorities decide to confine the offender in his home or residence. This is usually done to prevent movements or any sort of travels by the offender.
4. Adherence to a curfew
Contrary to the belief by many that curfews are only imposed on communities and countries during crisis periods, a curfew can be imposed on an offender as well. This is similar to the house arrest, however, in this case, the offender is allowed to step out only during a specific time (or outside the curfew hours).
5. Prohibition from doing some activities
The community sentencing policy could also be in the form of prohibition from particular activities. For instance, if the offender caused trouble at a shop or night club, he or she could be prohibited from going to those particular places by a court order.