By Elder Paul C. Ananaba, SAN


Defining a crime has always been regarded as an herculean task1, nonetheless, a crime can simply be defined as human act that violates the criminal law. This definition has two important components. First, crime involves behavior; second, this behavior is identified in terms of law. In other words, an act of omission or commission can only be tagged criminal if the law defines such act or omission to be so. To satisfy this requirement, a number of certain criteria must be met, that is, for an act or omission to be considered a crime and the perpetrator a criminal, the following conditions must be satisfied:

These elements are recognized under Nigerian legal system, section 36(12) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended) states thus:

Subject as otherwise provided by this Constitution, a person shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty therefor is prescribed in written law…3

It is therefore clear that only conducts that are proscribed by the law in the society that are punishable.


What is punishment? Punishment can be defined as any action designed to prevent a person or persons from enjoying things of value because of what that person has done or thought to have done. Examples of valued things include liberty, civil rights, skills, opportunities, material objects, less tangible forms of wealth, health, identity, life, and-perhaps most crucial-significant personal relationships4.


There are three major categories of criminal punishment. The first category is criminal penalties, this consists of legal punishments, punishments provided for by law and imposed by lawful representatives of a state, community, or group according to the directives of law. Examples of official criminal penalties are fines, prison terms, and probation.

The second category of criminal punishment can be described as extra-legal penalties. These punishments, while not illegal, are neither provided for by the law nor designated as punishments to be applied by officials of the state. Extra-legal criminal penalties are diverse; some examples are refusal to marry someone because of his or her criminality, denial of friendship on similar grounds, or non-physical harassment of a prisoner by a guard.

The third category consists of illegal penalties. These are punishments that are themselves illegal (such as torture) or that are applied illegally (such as the lynching of a convicted murderer)5.


Theories of punishment can be divided into two general philosophies: utilitarian and retributive. The utilitarian theory of punishment seeks to punish offenders to discourage, or “deter,” future wrongdoing. The retributive theory seeks to punish offenders because they deserve to be punished.

Under the utilitarian philosophy, laws should be used to maximize the happiness of society. Because crime and punishment are inconsistent with happiness, they should be kept to a minimum. Utilitarians understand that a crime-free society does not exist, but they endeavor to inflict only as much punishment as is required to prevent future crimes.

The utilitarian theory is “consequentialist” in nature. It recognizes that punishment has consequences for both the offender and society and holds that the total good produced by the punishment should exceed the total evil. In other words, punishment should not be unlimited. One illustration of consequentialism in punishment is the release of a prison inmate suffering from a debilitating illness. If the prisoner’s death is imminent, society is not served by his continued confinement because he is no longer capable of committing crimes.

Under the utilitarian philosophy, laws that specify punishment for criminal conduct should be designed to deter future criminal conduct. Deterrence operates on a specific and a general level. General deterrence means that the punishment should prevent other people from committing criminal acts. The punishment serves as an example to the rest of society, and it puts others on notice that criminal behavior will be punished.

Specific deterrence means that the punishment should prevent the same person from committing crimes. Specific deterrence works in two ways. First, an offender may be put in jail or prison to physically prevent her from committing another crime for a specified period. Second, this incapacitation is designed to be so unpleasant that it will discourage the offender from repeating his/her criminal behavior.

Rehabilitation is another utilitarian rationale for punishment. The goal of rehabilitation is to prevent future crime by giving offenders the ability to succeed within the confines of the law. Rehabilitative measures for criminal offenders usually include treatment for afflictions such as mental illness, chemical dependency, and chronic violent behavior. Rehabilitation also includes the use of educational programs that give offenders the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the job market.

The counterpart to the utilitarian theory of punishment is the retributive theory. Under this theory, offenders are punished for criminal behavior because they deserve punishment. Criminal behavior upsets the peaceful balance of society, and punishment helps to restore the balance.

The retributive theory focuses on the crime itself as the reason for imposing punishment. Where the utilitarian theory looks forward by basing punishment on social benefits, the retributive theory looks backward at the transgression as the basis for punishment.


Crime prevention programs must be holistic and gear towards effective prevention of recidivism and to stop circuitous failed adaptation by offenders. Ex-convicts who regain their freedom from confinement are more often than not encountering various challenges that may prevent them from becoming law-abiding citizens. For instance, where there is absence of material, psychological, and social support at the time of their release, offenders may have a very difficult time breaking the cycle of release and re-arrest. Short-term prison terms and extended terms of remand in custody provide limited opportunities for successful treatment and interventions to prevent future recidivism. One major step to successful crime prevention strategies is the focus on the social reintegration of ex-prisoners into the community and the development of interventions designed to reduce the levels of recidivism.

Community safety ensures that governments and communities devise effective interventions that will help successfully to reintegrate ex-prisoners into the society and avoid further criminality. Managed offender reentry processes and programs are gaining popularity and may give a cost effective way of preventing crime. There is therefore an increasing focus among policy-makers and practitioners on identifying programs and strategies that will help prisoners successfully reintegrate back into their communities without re-offending6.

4.0 Rehabilitation and Reintegration

Rehabilitation is the process seeking to improve a criminal’s character and outlook so that he or she can function in society without committing other crimes7. Reintegration on the other hand can be described as a form of rehabilitation often understood, socially, as the support given to offenders during their reentry into society following imprisonment. A wider definition, however, includes a number of efforts undertaken after an arrest to divert offenders away from the criminal justice system to an alternative measure, including a restorative justice process or suitable treatment. It involves imposing community-based sanctions rather than imprisonment in an attempt to facilitate the social reintegration of offenders in the community, instead of exposing them to the stigmatization and dangerous effects of imprisonment. For those who are sentenced to imprisonment, it includes correctional programs in prison, and aftercare interventions (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2006). In recent years, the post-release, community-based component of these interventions has been variously referred to as “aftercare”, “transitional care”, “reentry” or “reentry support”, reintegration, or resettlement. Some post-release interventions may begin while the offender is still incarcerated with the intent of facilitating post-release adjustment.

In the recent years, there has been focus on designing comprehensive interventions, with emphasis on a continuity of care, to provide stable help to offenders within and beyond prison. There is a recognition that preparation for reintegration should start before the offenders’ release. After their release, interventions should support their immediate transition from the prison to the community and reinforce the gains achieved through in prison treatment and continue until a successful reintegration is completed (Fox, 2002). This approach is often referred to as “throughcare”.

5.0 Challenges Confronting Offenders at the Time of their Release

There has been an assertion that a prisoner’s real punishment begins when he is discharged; and, again, that the true test of a prison system is what happens to a man when he comes out. Also, that while it is the easiest thing in the world to send a man to prison, it is not so easy to release him in a satisfactory manner8. Aftercare as a mode of reintegrating prisoners into the society after release from custody has achieved little or nothing in the Nigerian prison system. Experience has shown that life after prison experience is associated with discrimination by employers of labour against the prisoners; they are more often than not treated like pariah or at best with acute suspicion by friends and neighbours, hounded by the police who are only curious to arrest them on flimsy pretext, thus life is more or less unbearable for them on returning to the society. As far back as 1967, former governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande summarized the life-after-prison of prisoners in Nigeria in the following words:

“Nigerian society never forgives a prisoner. Once a citizen has been to prison, he is for the rest of his life a social leper. He is either completely ostracized by his former friends or treated with acute suspicion. He is barred from employment in the country’s public services. The private firms will not have him. And his associates or relatives never fail to remind him of his past just when it will hurt him most. One false step taken in a moment of weakness of folly haunts him through life.”9

This assertion is corroborated by Borzycki and Visher, when they both agreed that offenders confined in correctional institutions are confronted by a range of social, economic and personal challenges that tend to become obstacles to a crime-free lifestyle (Borzycki and Baldry, 2003; Visher, Winterfield, and Coggeshall, 2005). Borzycki went further by saying that some of these challenges are a result of the offenders’ past experiences and others are more directly associated with the consequences of incarceration and the following difficult transition back to the community (Borzycki, 2005). There is a possibility that offenders have history of social isolation and discrimination, physical or emotional abuse, poor employment or unemployment, and involvement in a criminal lifestyle that commenced at a tender age. Offenders may also be troubled by physical and mental disabilities and health issues that may be consequences of substance abuse and drug addiction. Many offenders have problem of skills deficits that hinder them to compete and succeed in the community: poor inter-personal skills, low levels of formal education, illiteracy or innumeracy, poor cognitive or emotional functioning, and/or a lack of planning and financial management skills. There are also several practical challenges that offenders will have to face at the time of their release like finding suitable accommodation with very limited means, managing financially with little or no savings until they start to earn some lawful remuneration, accessing a range of everyday necessities, and accessing services and support for their specific needs.

The period of transition from custody to community can be particularly difficult for offenders and contribute to the stress that is associated with being supervised in the community. The period of incarceration may itself have had several “collateral effects” (Borzycki, 2005: 36; Borzycki and Makkai, 2007:10) upon many offenders: they may have lost their livelihood, their personal belongings, their ability to maintain housing for themselves and their family; they may have lost important personal relationships and incarceration may have damaged their social networks; they may have experienced mental health difficulties or acquired self-defeating habits and attitudes. Homelessness, in particular, may place youth at risk of offending (Arnull, et al., 2007) the failed reentry of prisoners into society involves some significant costs for society, both financial and in terms of public safety. The costs of programs to support the reintegration of offenders must be assessed against the benefits of avoiding these significant future social and financial costs10.

6.0 Offender Reentry Programs

Reentry programs are often based on a case-management approach and cover a range of interventions. These interventions are designed to assist offenders in preparing for their release from confinement by helping them acquire the skill that will help in reintegrating them into the society, addressing personal challenges and the factors associated with their criminal behaviour, and establishing the necessary contacts and relationships in the community. Many, if not most, of these programs include some of form of supervision.

Programs are primarily designed based on the understanding of the dynamic risk factors associated with recidivism, the typical needs of offenders, and the challenges they encounter upon their release from prison. Programs vary according to the recidivism risk factors and the type of social integration challenges they are designed to address. Many programs focus on specific challenges confronting offenders, such as addiction, drug abuse, or unemployment and many offender reintegration programs have been designed to deal with specific categories of offenders, such as chronic offenders, drug addicted offenders, young offenders, mentally ill offenders, or dangerous sexual offenders.

Traditionally, one could identify three main types of offender reintegration programs:

  1. institution-based programs (some of them offered by community-based agencies);
  1. surveillance-based transition programs;
  2. assistance based transition programs11.

6.0 Institutional Programs

Institutional programs designed to prepare offenders to reenter society can include education, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, job training, counseling, and mentoring. These programs are more effective when they are centered on a full diagnostic and assessment of offenders (Travis, 2000). Some of these programs are offered prior to the release by community-based agencies which are equipped to provide after-care and follow-up with the offenders following their release from confinement.

Effective institutional programs tend to focus on a number of dynamic risk factors and offenders challenges or needs that require attention in order to prepare the offender for release and a successful reintegration. These programs are usually voluntary, and as such a substantive number of offenders do not take part in the programs more often than not and are subsequently released into the community without any pre-release preparation. Parole and in such programs that are organized to address some of his/her criminogenic needs or other challenges.

6.1 Surveillance-Based Programs

Surveillance-based programs are centered on supervision of offenders in the community following release from confinement. There are four models of parole supervision:

  1. risk-based;
  2. needs-based;
  3. middle-ground; and,
  4. strengths-based (Maruna and LeBel, 2002).

Risk-based strategies operate on the premise that offenders are dangerous and need to be controlled and closely monitored. This control “suggests the need for an ‘electronic panopticon1 or the ‘pee ’em and see ’em’ approach to supervising offenders” (Gordon, 1991; Maruna and LeBel, 2002; p. 164). Needs-based supervision strategies focus on offenders’ criminogenic needs, which mean parole supervisors help offenders get appropriate treatment in programs such as cognitive skills training and addictions counseling (Burnett and Maruna, 2006). The body of evidence supporting this parole supervision strategy is stronger than that for the risk-based strategy, as recidivism rates have been found to decrease slightly when offenders and treatment programs are correctly matched (Maruna and LeBel, 2002).

The ‘middle-ground’ position is a combination of the two deficit models. However, the problem with this dual approach is that parole officers tend to experience uncertainty about which model should be used and when (Maruna and LeBel, 2002). This problem has been identified by Fogel (1978), who asks, “A parole officer can be seen going off to his/her appointed rounds with Freud in one hand and a .38 Smith and Wesson in the other… Is Freud a backup to the .38? Or is the .38 carried to ‘support’ Freud?” (pp. 10-11).

The ‘strengths-based’ model which views offenders as “assets to be managed rather than merely liabilities to be supervised” (Maruna and LeBel, 2002:167-68). This approach is based on the assumption that prisoners are stigmatized, and that it is this stigma, rather than any inherent dangerousness, that makes them more likely to commit further crime.

Proponents of the ‘strengths-based’ approach believe that the process of rehabilitation is facilitated by having offenders make amends with the community by demonstrating their value and potential. These interventions provide ex-prisoners with the opportunity to experience success in support and leadership roles. The aim of this approach is to transform the ex-prisoner from being a consumer of assistance to a provider of assistance which, in turn, results in the offender’s de-stigmatization by the community, as the offender is perceived as having something to offer (Maruna and LeBel, 2002).

6.2 Programs designed to offer support and assistance

6.2.1 Mentally III Offenders

Offenders afflicted by mental illness encounter particular problems upon release into the community. These offenders may experience extreme social isolation and, as well, are often at risk for a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. As well, these offenders may encounter particularly difficulties in finding suitable accommodation and securing employment. And, it is likely that most of these offenders will require further medical and therapeutic services and assistance with money management. These factors, in combination with noncompliance of treatment orders, may make these individuals a risk not only to themselves, but to others as well (Hartwell and Orr, 1999).

The unique challenges faced by mentally ill offenders upon release require the development of a community-based treatment model of continuing care to address the risks, needs, and vulnerabilities of this offender group. Community-based treatment models of continuing care may reduce the risk to the public, for the individual offenders and reduce future correctional system involvement for these individuals, in addition to providing a diversion program from the traditional justice system (Griffiths, 2004; Hartwell and Orr, 2004). Research has identified continuity of care as an essential component of effective mental health treatment for mentally ill persons who are involved in the criminal justice system. This includes multidisciplinary case management for psychiatric treatment and social services, e.g. housing, food, help with disability benefits, and vocational training.

Forensic mental health professionals have identified the core components of any intervention designed to assist mentally ill offenders to successfully re-enter the community.

These include:

  1. A focus on stabilizing the offender’s illness;
  2. Enhancing their independent functioning;
  3. Maintaining their internal and external controls so as to minimize the likelihood they will act violently and commit new offences;
  1. Establishing a liaison between treatment staff and the justice system;
  2. Providing structure in the offender’s daily life;
  3. Using authority comfortably;
  4. Managing the offender’s violence and impulses;
  5. Integrating treatment and case management;
  6. Obtaining therapeutic living arrangements; and,
  7. Working with the offender’s family to determine if they are a reliable source of social support.

6.2.2 Employment / Job Market Reentry Assistance

“Employment provides more than the income necessary to support adequate material conditions. It also provides structure and routine, while filling time. It provides opportunities to expand one’s social network to include other productive members of society. In addition to all this, employment can contribute to enhanced self-esteem and other psychological health” (Graffam et al., 2004:1).

Research has found that ex-prisoners who are able to secure a legitimate job, particularly higher-quality positions with higher wages are less likely to recidivate than those ex-prisoners without legitimate job opportunities. The utility of holding legitimate jobs has been explained with the application of social control theory, which posits that work operates as an informal mechanism of social control (Sampson and Laub, 1997). The utility of legal employment in reducing the risk of re-offending is supported by research conducted in the UK where an analysis of data gathered in the 2001 Resettlement Survey found that offenders nearing release who had secured paying, post-release jobs, believed that they were less likely to re-offend than offenders nearing release without post-incarceration secured jobs (Niven and Olagundoye, 2002). Similar results have been achieved in the U.S. with employment programs sponsored by the Safer Foundation (Finn, 1999).

Although in theory it is believed that employment will decrease the likelihood that an offender will re-offend, the link between employment and re-offending is unclear (Webster et al., 2001). It has been suggested however, that the gains of employment with respect to reducing re-offending may be linked to the quality of the job, rather than merely being employed (Uggen, 1999). Furthermore, the relationship between legal employment and reduced recidivism may be heavily influenced by the interaction of the following factors: stable accommodation, having employment-related qualifications, not having substance abuse-related problems, and being proactive in asking for help with job searches (Niven and Olagundoye, 2002). Researchers have noted that it is vital that the individual needs of ex-prisoners be identified and matched with specific services. Among the more important employment interventions are job readiness classes, vocational education, job training, job placement, and job monitoring by a case manager (Visher, Winterfield, and Coggeshall, 2005).

Although the empirical evidence does not demonstrate significant decreases in recidivism rates for offenders participating in employment service interventions, there is little doubt that legitimate employment is vitally important in the seamless reintegration of offenders back into their communities (Rakis, 2005; Seiter, 2002). It is important that employment-related services be provided on a continuum from the time an offender enters prison until their release into the community. Vocational assessment should occur early in an offender’s sentence and should guide the future employment-related services that are offered to the offender. The vocational assessment would provide a series of benchmarks to assess the progress of an offender’s employment-readiness plan.

The success of this continuum may be contingent upon the development of policies and procedures that are developed among institutional corrections, parole agencies, community corrections, the private sector, and community organizations. Of further importance is that parole agencies and community corrections agencies be given the opportunity to provide input to institutional corrections officials with respect to vocational and pre-employment services that are offered to prisoners. This would be beneficial as it is a means of ensuring that pre­release measures will address the prisoner’s post-release needs (Gendreau, Little and Goggin, 1996; Gillis and Andrews, 2005; Rakis, 2005).

6.2.3 Lodging and Financial Assistance

Offenders released from prison generally received little pre-release support in securing accommodation and are often unable to find suitable living arrangements. Social isolation is a core experience of many ex-prisoners who may end up homeless or with unstable, unsuitable housing. Offenders who are reconvicted often point to lack of suitable housing as a key factor in their unsuccessful transition to life in the community (Baldry et al., 2002; Lewis, et al., 2003). The absence of suitable accommodation for released offenders in the community can result in ex-prisoners being concentrated in the most problematic parts of the community where there are high rates of crime and disorder and an absence of support services.

There is a paucity of reliable information on ex-prisoners’ experiences in securing accommodation in the community or on the relationship between housing and recidivism (Baldry et al., 2002). An indirect link has been found between accommodation and recidivism; interrelated risk factors include unemployment and substance abuse and, therefore, it is very difficult to address deficiencies in only one area of the ex-prisoner’s life. Offenders who experienced difficulties with respect to accommodation appear to be more likely to be reconvicted than offenders who did not have accommodation problems (Nilsson, 2003).

Analysis of data gathered in the 2003 Resettlement Survey in the UK demonstrated the indirect link between accommodation and recidivism, as it was found that the likelihood of having training or education, or employment arranged on release were over four times higher for prisoners with arranged accommodation than those without accommodation (Harper and Chitty, 2004).

6.2.4 Family Support

The families of offenders are a potential source of support and assistance upon reentry into the community. It should be acknowledged, however, that a common attribute of persons in conflict with the law is the absence of family support. There is an absence of evaluation studies on the role, and impact, of offender’s families as a source of support and assistance in the reintegration process and, therefore, it is not possible to reach any conclusions about the factors that facilitate, or hinder, an offender’s family in playing a supportive role.

6.2.5 Substance Abuse Interventions

“Drug dependent offenders are caught in a vicious circle. Unless the treatment they receive in prison for their addiction is maintained on their return to the community, the chances are that they will relapse and begin offending again to support their drug use. Failure to access appropriate support services in the community can result in offenders returning to prison time and time again, as the cycle of offending is perpetuated ” (Burrows, et al., 2001:1).

Offenders in correctional institutions often share the common attributes of high rates of drug use both prior to, and during, incarceration. Approximately 80% of offenders admitted to Canadian federal penitentiaries are identified as having a substance abuse problem that is associated with their criminal behaviour on admission to prison (Grant, Kunic, MacPherson, McKeown, and Hansen, 2004).

In a study conducted in the UK, data gathered through the Prison Criminality Survey of self-reported drug and alcohol use found one-half of the offenders surveyed reported that they had used heroin, crack, or cocaine in the year prior to their incarceration. Further, over one-half of the offenders reported that their criminal behaviour was linked to their drug use, in particular, to finance their habit (Harper and Chitty, 2004). In comparison, a quarter of offenders who experienced alcohol abuse problems reported a link between their drinking and criminal behavior, which, they reported, resulted from lapses in judgment as a consequence of drinking.

While numerous studies have found that substance abuse is associated with criminal offending, less is known about the patterns of drug and alcohol use by offenders following release into the community (Boyum and Kleiman, 1995). There does appear to be high rates of alcohol and drug use among ex-prisoners and this may hinder their ability to secure legal employment and stable accommodation (Kinner, 2006; Niven and Olagundoye, 2002). There is some evidence to suggest that severely addicted persons are often prolific offenders and this has led policy­makers to focus on drug-related rather than alcohol-related offending (Harper and Chitty, 2004). This attention is also supported by evidence which suggests that drug offenders are the most likely to recidivate and that they also present the greatest risk to fail on parole and probation (Belenko, 1998; Chanhatasilpa et al., 2000; Lipton, 1996).

Community-based substance abuse treatment interventions are delivered to offenders through residential programs, including therapeutic communities (TCs), outpatient treatment programs, residential programs, residential under a therapeutic community (TC) model, or detoxification services. Strategies utilized in these programs range from social-work oriented approaches that provide social skills training and/or counseling to address substance abuse to law enforcement-oriented approaches that include drug-testing, case-management, and supervision (Chanhatasilpa et al., 2000). Drug “throughcare” refers to the treatment and support offered to prisoners making the transition from prison to the community.

Research studies have found that the most successful approach in reducing recidivism among offenders, both immediately upon release into the community and over the long-term, are prison-based and community-based TC models (MacKenzie, 1997). One of the most important recommendations from the literature describing the link between substance abuse and criminal behaviour is that the gains made during in-prison treatment programs can only be maintained if an offender is provided with sufficient aftercare support upon release (Harper and Chitty, 2004; Lattimore et al., 2005). Further, recidivism outcomes are most favourable for offenders who participate in both in-prison treatment programming as well as aftercare programming (Wexler et al., 1999; Banks and Gottfredson, 2003).

Research has also found that high-intensity supervision, case-management, monitoring, and the increased use of referrals are ineffective in reducing the recidivism rates of chemically-dependent offenders (Petersilia and Turner, 1992; Anglin et al., 1996; Rhodes and Gross, 1997). However, a preliminary evaluation of the Kentucky Reentry Courts, an intervention strategy for drug-involved offenders, indicated that the program did reduce re-offending among the small sample of offenders studied (Miller, et al., 2002).

Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC) is one of the original models for community-based treatment interventions for chemically-dependent offenders. Essentially the objective of TASC and similarly-modeled programs is to provide drug-addicted offenders in the criminal justice system with referrals to treatment interventions in the community upon their release. The research assessing the effectiveness of TASC and similarly-modeled programs has produced inconsistent results as to their effectiveness in reducing recidivism (Rhodes and Gross, 1997). This may be explained by the fact that not all of the programs that offenders are referred to have the same program intensity and integrity. The evaluations could not control for the quality or quantity of the treatment programs offenders were referred to, which makes evaluation of their effectiveness difficult to determine.

An evaluation of drug courts, with a particular reference to the impact of supervision and treatment, found that treatment is more effective than supervision when offenders are at risk of re-offending. However, individuals who received both treatment and supervision recorded the longest time in the community until failure. The most important, and consistent, finding to date with respect to substance abuse interventions is the need for “throughcare” in the prison to aftercare in the community.

6.2.6 Programs for Sexual Offenders

The following principles have been proposed for the management of sex offenders:

  1. Interventions should be based on the assessment and reassessment of offender risk;
  2. The factors that are targeted for intervention should be those specifically related to criminal behaviour;
  1. There should be appropriate monitoring of activities in the community; and,
  2. It is vital that there be adequate sharing of information among collaterals and treatment and supervisory staff. (Motiuk, Belcourt, and Bonta, 1995; Wilson, et al., 2000)

Within this approach, the most ‘dangerous1 and high-risk sex offenders should have the most stringent and longest-term supervision period.

Research has demonstrated that the two most important factors associated with sexual recidivism are sexual deviancy (dynamic factors) and lifestyle instability/criminality (static, historical factors) (Hanson and Morton-Bourgon, 2004). Additionally, criminal lifestyle characteristics have also been found to be strongly related to violent and general recidivism among sexual offenders (Hanson and Morton-Bourgon, 2004), general offenders (Gendreau, Little and Goggin, 1996) and mentally-disordered offenders (Bonta, Law and Hanson, 1998).

The Correctional Service of Canada operates a ‘high risk offender program1 and a ‘maintenance program’ for managing sex offenders on release in the community. The former is cognitive-behavior oriented and offers individual and group counseling, in addition to using group therapy structured around addressing the four “F’s” related to sex offending, which are feelings, fantasy, future, and follow through. The program is multi-disciplinary with monthly case conference meetings that are organized with the participation of supervising parole staff, the treatment staff at the psychiatric hospital, and the program director from the maintenance program. The goal of this monthly case conference is to address any concerns regarding supervision- such as employment, no-contact orders, family relationships, and the offender’s attitude towards supervision. Treatment staff participates in the case conference in order to assess the offender’s progress in treatment and make any necessary changes (Wilson et al., 2000).

The ‘maintenance program’ is offered to sex offenders who have admitted committing their offences and who need weekly, lower intensity relapse prevention intervention than those individuals in the ‘high risk offender program’. Offenders receive individual and/or group therapy, which is focused on maintaining institutional treatment gains. Two further phases of the ‘maintenance program1 exist; the first is “a bi-monthly group for offenders who have completed two 12-week cycles of the primary group (with positive reports)”; and the second phase is “a monthly group for long-term maintenance of sexual offenders with substantial treatment experience and gains” (Wilson et al., 2000; p. 182).

Wilson et al. (2000) examined the recidivism rates of 107 sex offenders under community supervision- 75 who were in the “maintenance program” and 32 in the ‘high risk offender program’- and found that the sexual recidivism rates were lower than rates reported in previous studies. The mean follow-up period was three years and seven months and the recidivism rates were reported as follows: 3.7 percent for sexual reoffending, 21.0 for general reoffending, and 10.3 percent for violent reoffending (Wilson et al., 2000). One of the major limitations of the evaluation was that the researchers were unable to use a control group, which made it difficult to ascertain whether the reported results were a result of the integration of treatment and parole supervision for sexual offenders, or whether the results were due to other factors or interventions. Regardless, the authors propose that the low rates of recidivism reported in this study provide empirical evidence of the effectiveness of case management for sexual offenders under community supervision who are offered individualized treatment services in combination with appropriate parole supervision.

6.2.7 Balancing Surveillance and Support

Intensive monitoring and surveillance alone may not have produced demonstrable crime reduction effects, but there is some evidence that supervision accompanied with assistance and treatment in the community may decrease the risk of recidivism (MacKenzie, 1997; 2000). The level of supervision and control must be commensurate with the risk of recidivism, but the rapid and consistent enforcement of supervision conditions may reduce recidivism (May and Wadwell, 2001).


Having expound the meaning of crime, reasons for punishing offenders and different ways of rehabilitating and reintegrating ex-convicts into the society as one of the means by which crimes can be prevented in the society; at this juncture we shall consider different roles that corporate organizations can perform in these rehabilitation and reintegration as a method of crime prevention in the society.

1. Employment: It has been observed that ex-prisoners usually encounter difficulty at securing gainful employment after their release from prison because society generally viewed them from criminal perspective majorly. So, they consider it risky or foolhardy to engage the service of such individual in their employment. Corporate organizations need attitudinal changes in this regard, because doing so is more counter-productive to the society than they may envisage. A recidivist is more dangerous to the society than potential criminals.

2. Financial Assistance: Provision of financial assistance to ex-prisoners as a form of “after¬care” is another proactive role that corporate organization can perform to help in crime prevention via rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-convicts. As stated earlier, most of them do encounter financial challenge, having been without legal means of livelihood for the period of their incarceration. If corporate organization can bridge this gap as part of their corporate responsibilities, it will go a long way at rehabilitating and reintegrating ex-convicts as one of the means of preventing crime in the society.

3. Institutional Programs: Corporate Organizations can also be involved in institutional programs designed to prepare offenders to reenter society which include education, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, job training, counseling, and mentoring.

4. Family Support: Family support is an essential program in rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-convicts especially when the ex-convict is the breadwinner of the family. The immediate needed support can be provided by the Corporate bodies to cushion the effects such incapacitation may have on such individuals pending the time he/she will be reintegrated substantially into the society.

5. Public Sensitization: Public sensitization of the community by the corporate bodies to compliment government efforts at rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-convicts will help to remove the stigma, embarrassment, discrimination and shame they are generally subjected to after they have regained their freedom. Activity of this nature will also help to achieve the goal of crime prevention via rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-convicts.

6. Skills Acquisition: Corporate organizations can also play supportive role through skills acquisition programs during and after incarceration, especially in this part of the world because most prisoners more often than not spend their productive years in prisons and by the time they regain their freedom, they will become more or less a complete liability on the society. And situation like this is capable of making them relapse into criminal life style. So, if corporate bodies involve in this program it will definitely complement government efforts on crime prevention through rehabilitation and reintegration.

7. Provision of Facilities: It is an understatement to say that prisoners in Nigeria serve their prison terms under inhuman conditions which tend to make them harden criminals instead of rehabilitating them not to talk of reintegration into the society. It is incontrovertible that this portends a lot of dangers to our criminal justice system. The corporate organizations may help to reverse this ugly trend by providing facilities with which this condition can be ameliorated.

8. The corporate organizations can also involve in provision of drugs and financial aids to mentally ill offenders as one of the means of crime prevention via rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-convicts.


It has been established that crime prevention through rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-convicts should be complimented by corporate organizations as attaining crime free society is a duty of everyone.


1 .Kenny’s Outlines of Criminal Law 18th Edition, Edited by J.W.Cecil Turner
2 Hugh D. Barlow, Introduction to Criminology, Little, Brown and Company, Boston Toronto (1984) @ 5.
3 See also section 24 the Criminal Code Act.
Supra footnote 1 at page 476
5 Ibid
6 (accessed last on November 14, 2014)
7 Black’s Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition.
Ademola Ogunleye, The Nigerian Prison System, First Edition, Specific Computers Publishers,Lagos,2007,Pg.l92.
9 Ibid
10 Supra

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