•Calls for non-custodial measures
With over 70% of unconvicted inmates in the Nigerian correctional facilities, the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) has called for the adoption of parole; a non-custodial measure to help decongest prisons, and increase public safety.
A parolee is the early release of an inmate who agrees to abide by certain conditions. Parole allows inmates serving long sentences to be released before their expected day of release
Section 37 subsection 1 of the 2019 act of correctional services, made provision for community service, Probation, parole and restorative justice as-custodian measures for inmates.
The Executive Director of PRAWA, Dr Uju Agomoh, made this call on Thursday during the Inauguration of the Parole Board of Nigeria by Haliru Nababa, Controller General of National Correctional Service (NCoS).
Uju said the adoption of parole will not just help decongest the correctional centres but will reduce the economic cost of catering to inmates.
While lamenting the cost of inmate warfare, she condemned the poor reformation and rehabilitation system in Nigeria stressing that reinstatement of inmates back to society is not done efficiently in such a manner to curb the recurrence of crimes.
She said: “The attempt at reformation and rehabilitation is poor in Nigeria’s correctional facilities. Hardened criminals, petty offenders, and convicted and unconvicted criminals are kept together in the same custody; this mixture causes mind corruption in such a way that some inmates leave more hardened than they came into the correctional facility.”
“Some inmates are kept for years without being convicted and finally when they are released, they have nothing to fall back to. They are not prepared for society nor is society prepared for them. With the adoption of parole, the society, the correctional facilities and the inmates get the most out of the situation,” she further explained.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Parole Board of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Suleiman Galadima reiterated the need to decongest the correctional facilities via parole.
“This-custodian measure comes with a condition and any inmate who meets the condition will be considered. Inmates eligible are those with good behaviour, and have served one-third of a prison sentence for imprisonment for not less than 15 years or life sentence” he disclosed.