For long, so much has been said about the deplorable state of prisons in Nigeria, particularly the adverse health implications on inmates due to congestion. And successive governments have been accused of negligence instead of proffering lasting solution to this problem.
Inmates attending the class.
More worrisome is the fact that inmates get back into society hardened after serving their sentences, thereby frustrating security operatives’efforts to curb criminal acts in the society.
Irked by the development, the Nigerian Prison Service was renamed Nigerian Prisons and Correctional Service sequel to the Senate passage of a Bill for an Act to repeal the Prisons Act Cap, P29 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Inmates in class According to the Bill, the name change is “to underscore the humane aspect of the reform focus of prisons administrations and to conform to provisions in the international instrument.”
The Senate also approved a recommendation that deleted the words ‘hard labour’ and replaced it with ‘prison labour’, as it noted that “hard labour” was an inheritance from colonial era. Crime Guard, Monday, visited the three prisons in Kirikiri area of Lagos comprising the Maximum, Medium and Female Security Prisons with a view to carrying out an assessment of the situation inside the walls of the prisons. The first sight that greeted this reporter on arrival at the Maximum Security Prison was the neat environment and well- trimmed Lawn and Table Tennis courts, as well as a football pitch, where inmates come out in the evening for exercise and leisure.
Although facilities at both the Maximum, Medium and Female Prisons hospitals were nothing to write home about compared to what obtains in government hospitals and elsewhere around the globe, but Prisons medical officers, though not enough to take care of the inmates, ensured they made do with what is available.
At the reference hospital of Maximum Security prisons for instance, there were no less than 30 beds, a far cry when compared with the number of inmates who came for treatment on daily basis. At least, 100 inmates reportedly visited the hospitals daily.The hospital also takes care of Zone A prison comprising Lagos and Ogun states. There are also facilities for anti and post natal care.