Key Issues

Nigerian government set to reform Correctional Service

The Federal Ministry of Justice in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service & Reform, the Nigerian Correctional Service, formerly Nigerian Prison Service and other sister agencies have organized a 3-day workshop in Abuja, Nigeria, for critical stakeholders saddled with the responsibility of implementing the NCSA.

The NCSA 2019 addresses the shortcomings of Prison Act.

The aim of the workshop was to sensitize stakeholders on the salient provisions of the NCSA, and develop a road map or Strategic Action Plan, SAP for the effective implementation of the provisions of the Act especially with regard to Non � Custodial Measures across the country.

The SAP stipulates immediate, short, medium and long term measures required for the implementation of the law.

At the end of the workshop, stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice both at the Federal and State levels including Judges, Magistrates, Attorneys-General in the country made some of the following observation:

The urgent need for the development of implementation strategies for the NCSA 2019.

The state governments need to be involved in the implementation of the NCSA 2019.

The implementation of the NCSA 2019 requires sufficient funding

The roles of Non-Custodial Officers in parole, community service, probation, restorative justice etc are not clearly defined.

Currently, Correctional Service Officers do not have the requisite training and on-the-job experience to cope with the enormous responsibilities bestowed on them in the NCSA 2019 in the area of non-custodial measures hence the need for in-depth training.

The need for continuous synergy and collaboration amongst the NCS, the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion and other stakeholders towards effective implementation of the NCSA 2019.

The workshop also made some of the following recommendations:

There should be an Implementation Strategy for the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.

The National and state Committees of the Non-custodial service should be a ppointed and constituted by the Executive and Legislative arms without further delay.

There should be periodic interface amongst the Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior, the Controller-General of the NCS as well as other critical stakeholders at the Federal and State levels towards the implementation of the non-custodial measures under the NCSA, 2019.

The Correctional Service may appoint a Change Consultant to guide on appropriate infrastructural, human resource and operational plans as well as monitor the activities of the Correctional Service to give feedback to Government for necessary evaluation with regard to non-custodial measures and other recommendations.

Source: Voice of Nigeria