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The Prisoner's Right To Dignity

A National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report shows that…

1. Almost 70 percent of inmates in Nigerian prisons are awaiting trial. That’s 39,032 persons awaiting trial out of a total of 56,718 inmates!

2. Some inmates are made to live with other inmates who have terminal diseases, mental illness, tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS.

3. Prisons are overloaded and facilities are deplorable and overstretched.

4. Some inmates have spent more time in prison awaiting trial than the maximum sentences they would have received if convicted.

5. The Nigerian criminal justice system needs to be improved.

We also acknowledge the following facts…

1. The current system does NOT rehabilitate prisoners as most ex-inmates re-offend within five years.

2. The current system has NO provision for victims of crime. At best, they serve only as witnesses to secure conviction. Nothing is done to help them recover from the trauma they have experienced.

Prison Fellowship Nigeria is working hard to reverse this trend with its Restorative Justice Project…

We have entered partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Justice: A working committee, under the direct supervision of the State Commissioner for Justice, has embarked on comprehensive examination of the criminal justice legal framework.

We hope to come up with a complimentary alternative criminal justice system – Restorative Justice System. This is a system that will meet the justice needs of offenders, victims and the community.

When completed and fully in place, we hope to see a more effective system: Crimes will be properly punished. Criminals will be rehabilitated and reintegrated. Victims of crime will be validated.

As a chartered member of Prison Fellowship International, we are committed to achieving a “contemporary expression of Biblical justice” — Restorative Justice.

Restorative justice “emphasizes relationships, accountability, human rights, healing, and transformation.” It is simply a more effective system. The following have been achieved where it has been implemented…

1. Reduction of cost in the criminal justice system.

2. A reduction in re-offending.

3. A lower incidence of PTS (posttraumatic stress) in victims of crime.

4. More criminal cases brought to justice.

The Sycamore Tree Project is one expression of Restorative Justice. You can read more about it here.

Watch videos of some sensitization workshops by clicking this link.