The Federal Government says plans are under way to commence the implementation of non-custodial sentencing as a means of addressing the challenges of prison congestion.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), announced this on Monday in Abuja, during the inauguration of a stakeholders’ committee to oversee the implementation of directives to expedite prison decongestion.
He decried the deplorable conditions in which most prisoners were held, adding that the state of Nigerian prisons was a direct violation of the rights of the inmates.
He said it was part of efforts to address the situation that the Federal Government had evolved programmes aimed at aiding decongestion of prisons across the country.
“It is for this reason that my office intends to come up with a road map and comprehensive action plan to ensure that permanent gains are achieved in the work on reformation and decongestion of our correctional institutions,” he said.
He said that non-custodial sentencing, was one of the innovations of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
According to him, the use of non-custodial sentencing will prevent convicts who commit simple offences from mixing with hardened criminals.
“The use of non-custodial sanctions and measures reflect a fundamental change in the approach to crime, offenders and their place in society.”
The chief law officer of the country maintained that the innovation would change the focus of penitentiary measures from punishment and isolation, to restorative justice and re-integration.