Practice

Advocating For Improved Rehabilitation of Prisoners

 Background:  The Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) currently provides rehabilitation and reintegration services for convicted prisoners. However, there is no systematic approach to ensuring that on release after having served their sentence have relevant support and information to assist with their rehabilitation into society. There are a number of NGOs and faith-based organisations, such as PRAWA, CIDJAP and CAPIO, who do provide support to prisoners whilst serving their sentence and who can help with rehabilitation and reintegration on their release, but there is not a coordinated or systematic approach to help direct prisoners to such organisations on their release, and much depends on information gathered and relationships developed with such CSOs whilst an inmate was servicing his or her sentence.

However, the NPS is not legally mandated to provide any such support to Awaiting Trial Prisoners (ATPs), who make up the large proportion of the Nigerian prison population. Nor does it have the resources to provide such services to ATPs. The CSOs mentioned above, also provide support services to ATPs whilst they are being held on remand in custody and also on their discharge, but again, this is not carried out in a systematic or coordinated manner.

The ESJRT can potentially help promote coordination between CSOs offering rehabilitation and reintegration services to released inmates, ensuring that information is provided in a systematic manner in cooperation with the NPS. This can also be linked to the aforementioned current project to develop a public awareness campaign on criminal justice related rights and responsibilities, which is intended to include information specifically targeted at accused persons

 

Priority reform initiatives:

i. Promote improved co-operation between CSOs providing rehabilitation and reintegration services to prison inmates, through advocacy for the establishment of a CSO Committee or Task-force that meets regularly to share information, best practice and identify potential areas of cooperation. 2014-2015

 

ii. In collaboration with the NPS, to ensure provision of timely and coherent information on rehabilitation and reintegration services offered to inmates by CSOs whilst in custody and on their release.