Prisoners’ Access to Justice: Family Support, Prison Legal Education, and Court Proceedings

  •  Elijah Tukwariba Yin    
  •  Francis Kofi Korankye-Sakyi    
  •  Peter Atudiwe Atupare    


This study investigates the extent of prisoners’ legal entitlements as well as how prisoners acquire legal assistance within the prison setup. It is argued that inmates’ legal entitlements within the prison bureaucracy are devoid of the ideal of access to justice. The study used the mixed-method approach in data gathering. For the quantitative aspect, a sample of 300 inmates was used. Simple random and systematic sampling techniques were used to select the respondents. For the qualitative aspect, the following participants were purposively selected: ex-convicts, a paralegal prison officer, a court warrant officer, prison after-care officer, registrars, and relatives of inmates. The analysed data showed that most inmates did not receive family support during their trial before conviction. It was also found that inmates had no access to legal materials due to lack of law libraries, yet received some form of legal education from prison staff. Even though the court proceedings of inmates formed a critical part of their appeal process, a little above half of the inmate population had access to these documents. With the advancement in Information and Communication Technology, it is recommended that all courts should be digitized with relevant logistics and improved infrastructure to smoothen access to case files.

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