Group seeks effective implementation of new prison law

Participants at the workshop described the law as "an extraordinary piece of legislation." Photo credit: Ifeoluwa Adediran
Participants at the workshop. Photo credit: Ifeoluwa Adediran

The Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) has said the many benefits contained in the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019, can be exploited through effective implementation.

Uju Agomoh, the Executive Director of PRAWA, said a sensitisation workshop in Lagos Friday that the new law aims to provide separate facilities for young offenders and female inmates, especially pregnant women.

“This new law will make correctional service take a more active role in helping manage prison overcrowding by having them trigger an early warning system of alerting the judiciary and other key stakeholders on impending prison congestion,” Mrs Agomoh, who participated in drafting the law, said.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Nigerian Correctional Service Bill into law on August 14, 11 years after it was presented to the floor of the Senate.

The new law changes the name of the Nigerian Prisons Service to Nigerian Correctional Service.

READ MORE: 10 things to know about Nigeria’s new law on prisons

It also provides a platform for non-custodial measures, focus on corrections, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders and creation of a sustainable way to tackle the high rate of people awaiting trial in prisons.

John Gannon, the Executive Director of Global Justice Resource Center (GJRC), USA, described the new law as an extraordinary piece of legislation.

“The idea that there are provisions for young people and female and addressing health issues are very paramount,” he said.

“One of the most interesting provision that I see in the law is social visits and monthly visits to all facilities in all states by prominent people,” Mr Gannon added.

Rotimi Oladokun, the Superintendent of Prisons, Lagos State Command expressed delight at the core provisions of the new law. He canvassed support for the effective implementation of the law.

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Kathryn Otten, the Director, Non-Custodial services, GJRC, also described the law as an excellent legislation that must be fully implemented.

“I was taken aback by the thoughtfulness of the writing and how it speaks to the non-custodial programmes,” she said.

“The community service scheme, provision for women and nursing mothers, this is gender sensitivity and will help address some issues.”

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