INL Funded Project: Strengthening the Capacity of the Nigerian Correctional Service in the North-Eastern States

The “Strengthening the Capacity of the Nigerian Correctional Service in the North-Eastern States” project, supported by the Government of the United States of America, through the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) commenced in August 2021.

 

The overall goal of the three-year project is to strengthen the capacity of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) to ensure safe, secure and humane custody in selected main facilities in the North- East, taking particular account of the special situation of pre-trial detainees and the need to enhance the provision of rehabilitation and/or social reintegration support for all prisoners.

Due to its geographical focus, the project scope will also encompass detainees and prisoners held for an (alleged) association with Boko Haram and include tailored interventions for this particular category.

 

Located under the Ministry of Interior, the NCoS is in charge of the custody of a total of 74443 inmates (as of June 2022) and currently operates at 147% of its official capacity. Current challenges facing the NCoS include overcrowding due to the excessive duration of pre-trial detention, as indicated by 71% of the total prison population being held on remand. Many of the prisons under the control of the NCoS also suffer from poor prison conditions and a lack of recreational, educational, vocational training, and work programmes due to various factors which include limited human, financial, infrastructural and logistical resources. Collectively, these challenges have had a severe negative impact on the capacity of NCoS to manage its prisons in line with international minimum standards.  Furthermore, former prisoners, even those released without charge, face major challenges reintegrating back into their communities upon release.

 

Building on the extensive experience and tools which UNODC has developed over decades to assist countries in managing their prisons systems in line with international standards and norms, the project will provide tailored interventions aimed at;

  • Supporting the NCoS to manage its prison population in a safe, secure and humane manner by strengthening core prison management practices related to security, safety and humane treatment;
  • Enhancing access to justice for pre-trial detainees, including by expediting fair and transparent court hearings and building capacities amongst relevant stakeholders; and
  • Facilitating the social reintegration of prisoners by strengthening prison-based rehabilitation programming and post-release support services.

 

The project also aligns with the 2021 United Nations Common Position on Incarceration which at the global level aims at: 

  1. shifting policies towards prevention and non-custodial measures,
  2. improving prison conditions and strengthening prison management, and
  3. advancing the rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders.

 

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