Nigerian Correctional Service Implements Strategies to Tackle Overcrowding

In response to the challenge of overcrowding in custodial centres across Nigeria, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) is deploying a multi-dimensional approach aimed at addressing the issue effectively. According to the spokesman for the NCS, Abubakar Umar, the service has implemented several initiatives to mitigate overcrowding and improve the conditions within these facilities.

One significant measure being undertaken by the NCS is the construction of mega custodial facilities in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country. These mega facilities, with a capacity of 3000 inmates each, are designed to alleviate the strain on existing custodial centres. The inauguration of the facility in the North-West zone marks the first step in this initiative, with plans to replicate the project across other zones underway.

In addition to infrastructure development, the NCS is diversifying its approach by embracing non-custodial measures for offenders convicted of less serious crimes. Under this approach, offenders are not incarcerated but instead mandated to serve their punitive measures within the community under the supervision of correctional officials known as non-custodial officers. This initiative not only reduces the burden on custodial facilities but also allows for more tailored rehabilitation efforts.

Furthermore, the NCS is enhancing collaboration with the courts and stakeholders to facilitate regular jail delivery exercises, clemency, and bail processes. These efforts are aimed at expediting legal procedures and reducing unnecessary detention, thereby contributing to the decongestion of custodial centres.

Abubakar Umar emphasized that the overarching goal of these measures is to create conducive environments within custodial centres for effective reformation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of offenders. Since the enactment of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019, there has been a concerted effort to upscale the rehabilitation programs offered by the service.

The NCS has established numerous workshops and skills acquisition centers within custodial facilities to provide inmates with training in various trades and vocations. Additionally, partnerships with institutions like the National Open University of Nigeria have been forged to expand educational opportunities for inmates, allowing them to pursue academic studies while serving their terms.

Moreover, discharged inmates who have undergone reformatory programs are provided with starter packs to facilitate their reintegration into society. These initiatives underscore the commitment of the Nigerian Correctional Service to promoting holistic rehabilitation and reducing recidivism rates among offenders.


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