Life Style

Nigeria Correctional Centres, ill-home of Prisoners and Wardens?

Sharing is caring!

One of United Nation’s missions is prison reform with determination to decongest prisons especially in countries with scarce human and financial resources. Most Prisons in the third world are ravaged with overcrowding, poor facilities among other appalling situations which most times turned the facility from being a correctional centre to a haven of hardened criminals.

Prisons are public correctional institutions established by the government where inmates – suspects and convicts – are detained.The Nigeria prison is a case study of overcrowding and not having enough warders to attend to the needs of the inmates. Over the years, findings have revealed that the situation in Nigerian prison cells across the country has become miserable. It’s been observed that some of the inmates have even spent more years in prison than the actual years required if they had been convicted.

Taking the two prison formations in Ogun State as an example, in 2022 a report has it that the Ibara Correctional Centre, which was originally built to accommodate 510 inmates now shelters 1,189 inmates while that of Ilaro Correctional Centre, which had initially accommodated 126 inmates, had increased the number of inmates to 532. According to the report, out of 526 inmates, only 167 are convicted, while the remaining 359 are awaiting trial for various offences in 17 different courts scattered across the seven local government areas of the state.

As at March 4, 2024 on the official website of Nigeria correctional centre, there are 78,629 inmates, 24,423 convicted and 54,206 awaiting trial Inmates. These figures when put side by side with numbers of prison wardens who are working at the correctional centre are like over 300 wardens to an inmate. These wardens are said to be poorly remunerated, working in a not too conducive environment which most times leads to prison break and corruption on the part of both high and low ranking officers of the correctional centres.

Modern correctional facilities are fast leaving Nigeria behind, given that no substantial restructuring has been accorded to the correctional facilities in Nigeria. This explains why the rate of criminal activities is high in Nigeria. In saner climes, prisons are for reformatory activities. But in Nigeria, prisons harden inmates the more due to the level of punishment meted to them. Many have taken to the disposition that the Nigeria Prisons Service has failed the society in its entirety. It is said to be evident in the level of recidivism that stares most Nigerian prisons in the face.

The Nigerian prison system breeds the criminal tendencies in an individual-offender. A petty criminal may come out of the system to become a die-hard criminal.During the administration of former President Mohammadu Buhari, August 19, 2019 precisely, Buhari signed a bill into law which was geared towards changing the name of the Nigeria Prisons Service into the Nigeria Correctional Service. This development is very significant, considering that it bothers on a salient aspect of social existence, which is crime. Buhari said. “It is a national scandal that many of our prisons are overcrowded by up to 90 per cent.”

This is the dangerous reality and goes against the tenets of justice and civilisation.The House of Representatives a few months ago also brought to focus the need to regularly decongest our overcrowded custodial centres or prisons. Two members – Messrs Chinedu Ogah and Imo Okon, recently called attention to the sorry state of these prisons and canvassed for immediate measures to ameliorate the plights of the inmates. They argued that “the deplorable state of the centres puts the inmates at great risk to their health and safety, violates their fundamental rights to humane treatment, dignity and fair and speedy trial and, most importantly, undermines the effectiveness of their rehabilitation”.

Due to the increase in the scope and quantum of crimes in our society, our jail houses and detention centres are filled virtually to the rafters with prisoners and detainees.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *