Prison Reforms: Presidential committee frees 19 inmates from Kuje custodial centre
The Presidential Committee on Correctional Services Reform and Decongestion, recently granted freedom to 19 inmates from Kuje Correctional Centre.
The committee, which is headed by the Chief Judge of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello, granted the prerogative of mercy to the inmates as part of the jail delivery measures adopted to decongest custodial centres.
Justice Bello noted that the exercise has become more imperative with the recent introduction of Nigerian Correctional Service Act.
“This exercise is purely borne out of the desire of criminal justice stakeholders to find ways of decongesting detention facilities across the country by inquiring into cases of inmates with a view to letting go of those who have no reasons to stay in such facilities”, Justice Bello said.
He also used the forum to call on the stakeholders in the criminal justice sector to collaborate in carrying out the mandate of decongesting detention centres in Nigeria.
“It is a world of interdependence. Therefore, all stakeholders must depend on one another for smooth adjudications. If anyone fails to execute his or her mandate, it rubs off on other stakeholders negatively.
“Consequently, I urge us all to take our duties seriously because this is a national assignment that must succeed”, Bello added.
Upon the release of 19 inmates by the committee, Justice Bello emphasized the need for a permanent data base containing records and photographs of every released inmate. According to him, such records will help in tracing any of the released inmates that returns to crime in future.
He however urged security operatives to be civil in the discharge of their duties by ensuring that suspects are not detained beyond the statutory period as prescribed by law.
Kuje Custodial Centre (prison), which was originally built to house 560 inmates, had 967 inmates. Out of this number, 822 were awaiting trial while only 145 were convicted
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