Nigerian Prisons Service: Correctional Settings Encompass More than Incarceration

A correctional facility can encompass prisons and other forms of confinement. It is a broader term compared to prison. A prison is only a subtype of correctional facility. Its primary objective is to ;lconfine, or maybe rehabilitate.

Under correctional settings, the vast array of options details a long list of alternatives to incarceration obtainable, including community service, electronic monitoring, and probation.

Correctional facilities, should empower the prisoners to do lots of things including the participation in programmes both vocational and educational. Subject to the terms of the laws.

Ideally, certain standards of living are set for the prisoners so as to retain some of their rights and making them live in a more humane facility.

It is worth noting that universally, Incarceration of any kind is designed to be an unpleasant experience.

Basic rights of Inmates

These include the right to be treated humanely, not suffer cruel and unusual punishment, be free from sexual crimes or harassment, a right of access to the courts, a right to medical care, and a right to not suffer any kind discrimination. Although an inmate’s rights are abridged compared to other citizens given their status, they also still have limited rights to free speech, possession of property, and other basic human rights.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime asserts that; ” The majority of prisoners worldwide come from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Poverty, unemployment, lack of housing, broken families, histories of psychological problems and mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence are realities that are likely to be found in most offenders’ lives. Many are in prison for non-violent or minor offences. By using prison as an answer to all offences committed by such individuals, not only is the issue of safety in the community not addressed in any sustainable manner, the cycle of impoverishment, loss of jobs, weakening of employment chances, damage to relationships, worsening of psychological and mental illnesses and continued or increased drug use is perpetuated. There are also many health risks associated with overcrowded prisons, including the spread of infectious disease, In many countries violence is a common element of prison life, especially where there is overcrowding ”

 Alternatives to Incarceration that Should be Available to Offenders

Bail supervision programmes: While awaiting trial, the accused, rather than being held in custody, is supervised by a member of the community.

Alternative measures programmes: The offender is diverted from the criminal justice system before or after being charged. The offender enters into a kind of contractual agreement to answer for the crime. The agreement can include community service work, personal service to the victim, charitable donation, counseling, or any other reasonable task or condition.

Restitution Programmes: The offender must pay back the victim for damages or loss.

Community service order: A condition on a probation order, or a separate disposition in the case of young offenders, that requires the offender to perform work in the community.

Probation: The offender is supervised in the community and follows the set of conditions (rules) set out in the probation order. Conditions of probation include keeping the peace, good behavior, obeying the law, and reporting regularly to a probation officer and may include a range of other, optional conditions.

Intensive supervision probation: An alternative to incarceration in the United States similar to probation but which involves more frequent surveillance and greater controls.

Electronic Monitoring: Offenders are fitted with an anklet or bracelet that transmits signals of their whereabouts to the correctional officer, allowing offenders to continue with employment or education commitments in the community.

Parole: A period of conditional community supervision after a prison term. If the conditions of supervision are violated, the parolee can be returned to prison to serve any of the remaining portion of the sentence.Discretionary parole exists when a parole board has authority to conditionally release prisoners based on a statutory or administrative determination of eligibility.Mandatory parole generally occurs in jurisdictions using determinate sentencing statutes in which inmates are conditionally released from prison after serving a specified portion of their original sentence minus any good time earned.

With Wednesday’s announcement that the Nigerian Prisons Service has been renamed the Nigerian Correctional Service, hope for a humane treatment of inmates by the system rises. Will a corresponding truly correctional policy be implemented?

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