Ghana's justice system does not guarantee free legal services for the poor and less-privileged persons who are unable to hire counsel to represent them. A State-funded legal aid scheme is woefully under-funded and ill-equipped to make any impact and there is no effective private alternative. Consequently, accused persons who cannot afford the services of counsel mostly end up in jail. HelpLaw Ghana is providing free legal assistance for these unfortunate citizens who are being denied justice.
Because indigent accused persons are not represented in court they are invariably jailed, though many may be innocent. As a result, there is terrible congestion in Ghana's prisons. As of July 2009, the Nsawam Prison had exceeded its maximum capacity of 851 inmates by over 200% to 2,951 inmates. The Akuse prison with a maximum capacity of 60 inmates had over 309 inmates, and the Kumasi Prison with a maximum capacity of 416 had over 1,678 inmates. This has resulted in serious human rights issues.
HelpLaw Ghana has been established to provide free legal and related services to as many poor and indigent accused persons who the charity can raise resources to support right from their arrest and through their trials. Many shall be assisted to be discharged or granted bail at their first appearance in court, or subsequently during their trial.
The vision of HelpLaw Ghana is to ultimately guarantee free legal services for the poor and all indigent accused persons in Ghana. HelpLaw shall provide legal representation for at least 200 accused persons, who may end up in jail in each month just because they are too poor to hire the services of lawyers.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
Official website of HelpLaw Ghana
Amnesty International Report on Ghana's Prisons
Feature article by Founder in national newspaper
News Article on Amnesty International Report