President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Nigeria Correctional Services Bill which changes the name, “Nigerian Prisons Service”, to “Nigerian Correctional Service”.
According to Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, the Nigeria Correctional Service is made up of two faculties: the Custodial and Non- Custodial Service.
He explained in a statement that the non-custodial is intended for reformation allowing for community services as punishment so not every offence would attract a prison sentence.
His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari has assented the within named Acts, as analysed below:
Nigerian Correctional Service Bill, 2019
This Act repeals the Prisons Acts and changes the name from Nigeria Prisons Service to Nigerian Correctional Service, otherwise known as “the Correctional Service.”
There are, according to the Act, two main faculties of the Correctional Service, namely:
(a) Custodial Service
(b) Non-custodial Service
The Custodial Service is to:
(a) custody and take control of persons legally interned in safe, secure and humane conditions.
(b) Conveying remand persons to and from courts in motorized formations;
(c) Identifying the existence and causes of anti-social behaviours of inmates
(d) Conducting risk and needs assessment aimed at developing appropriate correctional treatment methods for reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration;
(e) Implementing reformation and rehabilitation programmes to enhance the reintegration of inmates back into the society
(f) Initiating behaviour modification in inmates through the provision of medical, psychological, spiritual and counselling services for all offenders including violent extremists
(g) empowering inmates through the deployment of educational and vocational skills training programmes, and facilitating incentives and income generation through Custodial Centres, farms and industries
(h) Administering borstal and related institutions;
(I) Providing support to facilitate the speedy disposal of cases of persons awaiting trial, and It further provides in Section 12 (2) (c):
“that where an inmate sentenced to death has exhausted all legal procedures for appeal and a period of 10 years has elapsed without execution of the sentence, the Chief Judge may commute the sentence of death to life imprisonment. And Section 12 (8) empowers the state Controller of the Service to reject more intakes of inmates where it is apparent that the correctional centre in question is filled to capacity.
THE NIGERIAN NON-CUSTODIAL SERVICE
This non-custodial faculty of the Correctional Service is responsible for the administration of non-custodial measures, namely: Community Service, probation, parole, restorative justice measures and such other measures as a court of competent jurisdiction may order. Restorative Justice measure approved in the Act includes victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, community mediation and other conciliatory measures as may be deemed necessary pre-trial, trial during imprisonment or even post- imprisonment stages.