News Analysis

Checking The Spate Of Jail Break

Nigeria Prison Service is one of the major institutions in the criminal justice system. It provides restraint to individuals accused or convicted for offence.

Prisons could be referred to as correctional centres which is the third phase in the criminal justice system.

Their functions include keeping custody, producing suspects in court as and when due, identifying the causes of anti-social behaviour retribution, reformation and rehabilitation of inmates among others.

In Nigeria, the first prison, Faji prison, was established in Lagos in 1861 during the colonial era to suppress native authorities and indigenous Nigerians who kicked against colonial tendencies.

Other early prisons that were established include Calabar prison, which was established in 1890, Badagry prison, 1883 and Hadejia old prison in 1901.

Some of the prisons in Nigeria include, Kuje medium prisons, Abuja, Kirikiri maximum security prisons, Lagos, Agodi prison, Ibadan, Abakiliki prisons, Gashua maximum prisons, Yola, Koton karfe prison, Kogi,  to mention but a few.

In recent time, Nigerian prisons service has been battling and contending with jailbreaks.

Last week, about nine hundred and seven prisoners escaped from the Nigeria correctional service, Abolongo, Oyo state.

Just last month, no fewer than two hundred and forty inmates at the medium-security custodial centre in Kabba, Kogi state, escaped from jail following an attack on the facility by yet to be identified heavily armed gunmen..

According to the minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, four hundred and forty-four out of nine hundred and seven escapees in the Abolongo correctional facility in Oyo state have been recaptured.

The minister explained that the service has an updated database of the escapees which includes their biometrics while their database will be shared with all security agencies in the country including Interpol, to recapture those that escaped.

Some of the factors responsible for jail break include negligence of duty, low morale, poor remuneration and incentives, poor maintenance, quest for freedom on the part of the inmate’s congestion, as well as old and inadequate working tools.

The various attacks on jails in the country should serve as an eye opener for the federal government to begin rehabilitation of prisons across the country.

There is urgent need to beef-up security in prisons and for prison officials to wake up to their responsibilities.

Federal government should commit resources to maintenance of the prisons, training and retraining of officers to achieve standards in prison management.

There is the need for overhauling of the prison system to enable it function optimally in accordance with its statutory function which include upgrading the facilities and possibly build model prisons in virtually all states of the federation.

Stakeholders in the justice system should also contribute their quota by giving prompt judgement on awaiting trial inmates to decongest the prison.

The adoption of non-custodian sentence such as community service would not only help to reduce prison congestion but would reduce jail break.

Above all, parents and guardians should not renege in their duty of proper upbringing of their children and wards as this would reduce the commission of offences.

Adeyoyin Shomoye

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