HomeNewsRivers Chief Judge Pardons 53 Awaiting Trial Inmates

Rivers Chief Judge Pardons 53 Awaiting Trial Inmates

Date:

The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor-Amadi, has granted pardon to 53 inmates of the Port Harcourt Maximum Correctional Centre.

Justice Chibuzor-Amadi said the exercise complied with the provisions of the Criminal Justice Law of Rivers State and the Special Provision Act of the Law of the Federation.

He said the exercise was part of activities to usher in the 2023/2024 Legal Year.

The freed inmates are those standing trial for different offences, as some have been in the facility for five to nine years awaiting trial and no case has been filed against them.

The  CJ said, “The pardon serves as a reminder of our commitment to ensure justice is rightly served, that our correctional centre should not become overcrowded and the rights of the defendants are protected.

“More importantly, it symbolises our dedication to ensuring that individuals have the chance to reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens.”

He advised the freed inmates to turn a new leaf and desist from any temptation to go back to criminality.

“As you partake in this jail delivery exercise, let us remember that our actions today have the potential to transform lives. While we show empathy and compassion during this exercise, this does not in any way absorb individuals from being accountable for their actions,” he said.

Justice Chubuzor-Amadi urged the police to ensure thorough investigations are done before charging suspects in court, saying, “Our custodial centres should not be warehouses for the forgotten nor should they be breeding grounds for hardened criminals.

“Rather they should be places for transformation where individuals can reflect on their past actions, learn from their mistakes and receive the necessary tools and support for their rehabilitation.

“To achieve this, we need collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the criminal administration system. The judiciary, the correctional services, law enforcement agencies, legal aid organizations and community leaders must work hand in hand to ensure justice prevails.”

In his remarks, the Controller, Port Harcourt Maximum Correctional Centre, Felix Lawrence, said the exercise has reduced the number of inmates in the facility and thanked the  CJ.

He said, “Permit me to use this opportunity to appreciate you for your efforts to decongest the custodial centres in the state.

“I took over 4,000 plus in the maximum custodial centre, Port Harcourt. But today we have dropped down to over a
1,000 lower than what I inherited in June last year. That has shown that the criminal justice system in Rivers State is working.”

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