Only prison reforms, good justice administration can ensure better life for inmates in and out of prison – Experts

Only prison reforms, good justice administration can ensure better life for inmates in and out of prison – Experts

Experts are of the opinion that government needs to do more about reforming the prison to ensure that inmates, especially those who are not on death row, live better lives on leaving correctional facilities.

A lawyer and rights activist, Modestus Onwordi, urged prison authorities to provide conducive environment for inmates to be properly rehabilitated and reformed for a change of attitude.

He said: “The harrowing experience of inadequate food and shelter among other terrible hygienic conditions are enough to harden the minds of inmates, so much so that some of them graduate from being petty thieves for which they are remanded or jailed into underworld kingpin after befriending their likes in the correctional facilities.

“We all know that in many of the so-called prisons or correctional facilities in the country, the space are filled up with huge number of convicts and awaiting trial inmates, who are dumped there for so long that they tend to develop a strong connection with other hardened criminals there, who would encourage them to further their involvement in heinous crime.

“The solution lies in making the environment conducive and hygienic as well as ensuring decongestion in such a way that remanded or detained inmates do not stay there for too long.”

A social worker, Johnson Dipeolu, was of the opinion that only dependable justice administration system can bring about properly reformed inmates, who can live crime-free lives outside correctional facilities.

“The facilities are over-crowded with inmates. Both hardened criminals and others who are there for lesser offences are lumped together, giving room for character influence and bonding that encourages freed inmates to get in touch and form criminal gangs.

“For me, the judiciary or courts have a key role to play by ensuring quick dispensation of justice such that awaiting trial inmates don’t stay for too long to be indoctrinated into dastardly crimes.

“Also, the police must carry out diligent investigation and jettison the over-reliance on confessional statement to prosecute suspects.

“Most times, victims of police prosecution through confessional statement tend to embrace crime as vengeance for serving jail term or being detained for offences they are innocent of.”
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