The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), has advised states against sending “minor offenders” to facilities, saying the development was inimical to the federal government’s decongestion efforts. This was as the Service further bemoaned the stigma suffered by ex-convicts within the society.
The concerns were raised yesterday by the Service’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Francis Enobore, a Deputy Comptroller of Prisons (DCP). Enobore, who spoke during an inspection tour of Prisons farms located at Gwagwalada Area Council, suggested domestication of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) by states.
The development, he argued, would enable the states to adopt alternative approaches to custodial sentence.
“The feat was however not without some challenges. Although the population of inmates awaiting trial shows a considerable reduction but the rate of influx, if care is not taken, will sooner than later make a travesty of the present decongestion effort.
“Some states take forces to arrest minor offenders like street hawkers and even those without proof of means of likelihood and send them to the prison without a corresponding mechanism for further care and support.
“We are of the opinion that the 2015 Administration of Justice Act should be domesticated and implemented in states, so alternative to custodial punishment can be used. “Also of significant concern is the rejection of ex-convicts by members of the society.
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