Jail breaks: So­lu­tion is fewer in­mates, not taller walls - CURE

Daily Trust - - LAW - By John Chuks Azu

A le­gal aid non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion, Cit­i­zens United for Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Er­rants (CURE) has ad­vo­cated the re­duc­tion of num­ber prison in­mates to pre­vent in­ces­sant jail breaks in the coun­try.

The ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of CURE, Sylvester Uhaa, who stated this in an in­ter­view with Daily Trust, said in­stead of mak­ing higher walls and en­gag­ing gun- tot­ing se­cu­rity op­er­a­tives, what was re­quired was lower num­ber of prison in­mates.

He said find­ings re­lated to jail breaks world­wide show that they are spear­headed by await­ing trial in­mates, adding that the case of Nige­ria, which has 80 per cent of prison in­mates on pre­trial, is no ex­cep­tion.

Two in­mates re­port­edly es­caped un­de­tected after a jail break at the Kuje Medium Prison in Abuja on June 24, 2016.

But Uhaa said the chal­lenges of in­ad­e­quate uni­forms, food, wa­ter and bed spa­ces in the prisons, which is caused by over pop­u­la­tion, is suf­fi­cient to breed dis­con­tent and in­ces­sant jail breaks.

“Where we need to spend the money is to make sure that peo­ple in prison have ac­cess to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and rein­te­gra­tion pro­grammes. We don’t need a new law to achieve that,” he said in ref­er­ence to the Prisons Ser­vice Bill which pro­poses to make the Nige­ria prisons cor­rec­tion cen­tres.

He said the ap­point­ment of re­tired Gen­eral Ab­du­larah­man Dam­bazau as Min­is­ter for In­te­rior af­fords Nige­ria a golden op­por­tu­nity to achieve the de­sired stan­dard­iza­tion of the prison fa­cil­i­ties.

“This is the most qual­i­fied min­is­ter so far as the Nige­rian Prisons Sys­tem is con­cerned be­cause he is a qual­i­fied crim­i­nol­o­gist with a Ph.D. He has writ­ten in these ar­eas. The Nige­ria Po­lice and Prison have now been brought un­der one um­brella. So this is an op­por­tu­nity we should not miss. There­fore my call to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to in­vest in the prison sys­tem,” he said.

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