A Judge of the Lagos State High Court, Oluwatoyin Ipaye, has called for a decentralised prison system where state governments will be allowed to build correctional centres.
Ipaye and other participants at a webinar organised by the prison ministry of the Citadel Global Community Church on Saturday stressed the need to reform the country’s correctional system.
She said, “Why do we even have prisons? Of course, you will recollect that before the colonialists, we had our traditional system of doing things. If there was an offender in the community or the village, most of the time in the African setting, restitution was the keyword.
“Many times, the prisoners come out more hardened and this ought not to, because a correctional facility like the name suggests is a place where inmates should be reformed. This will reduce the rate of recidivism.”
Ipaye also called on the Federal Government to allow state governments to run and operate correctional centres.
He said, “By our constitution, it is only the Federal Government that is empowered to run, manage and establish correctional facilities. I do not think there is any advantage to having such a unified structure. I believe that the states should be empowered to also establish their own facilities.
“These are some of the problems we are still contending with; we have a unified Police structure; we have a unified court system, but I think that as the agitations are coming up more, if we are going to decentralise the police, then the correctional facilities should follow suit.”