Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said that the Federal Government is intensifying efforts towards amending the Federal Correctional Services Act.
He stated this while defending the ministry’s 2022 budget proposal of over N11 billion before the Senate Committee on Judiciary Human Rights and Legal Matters, yesterday, in Abuja.
The minister was also responding to a question by a member of the committee, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu) on Justice Sector Reform and decongestion of correctional service centres.
Earlier, Utazi had queried the level of ration inmates received per individual which he described as insufficient.
In his response, Malami said that “we are making necessary arrangements into the Correctional Service Act.
“I agree with the senator that there are certain needs for further amendments to the act for the purpose of enhancing the services as it relates to transformation of the correctional service inmates.
“What we do in terms of transformation of the correctional service, in its own rights, and the services to be deployed for the purpose of bringing the necessary reforms in attitude and character of the inmates, is a function of law.
“When we came over to the National Assembly for the purpose of amending the Prison Service Act, which later came to be known as the Correctional Service Act, the major menace and the mischief that we were targeting to address then were the unprecedented congestion in prison formations.
“With that, we have brought in a lot of amendments among which was giving discretion to the commandants of the prison service to reject inmates when the capacity is over-stretched, which discretion was never there before.”
Another amendment to the act, he said, was “bringing onboard non-custodial sentences among others, which eventually, as at today, nobody is complaining about decongestion in the correctional centres.