Situation needs to be urgently addressed
Guyana Chronicle
March 15, 2002

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Within a matter of days there were two revealing disclosures attributed to the chancellor of the Judiciary and the Attorney General with both instances relating to the backlog of court cases and consequent over crowding in the Georgetown Prison.

The revelation that some 40% of the inmates in prison were remand prisoners is clearly unacceptable and indeed the chancellor had reason to remark “It is not working and it has to change” while the AG said that as Minister of Justice, he would wish the situation be addressed.

What is clearly emerging is the fact that many factors have contributed to the over crowding in the prison including preparation of prosecution, the commencement and continuous hearings of cases which invariable require the cooperation of lawyers. The Chancellor indicated that she intends to speak with the Chief Justice regarding the incidence of remand and the CJ acknowledged that there is a problem which is very serious and was a challenging one for the magistracy. He also observed that there were many remand cases awaiting to be heard in the high courts, so that not only magistrates are affected in trying to resolve the problem.

The clearly unsatisfactory situation in relation to prison over crowding needs to be urgently addressed but it is equally clear that the solution will not be easy or immediately implemented without even considering costs involved. Assistance will have to be sought from all quarters.
Compton Singh