By Ibironke Ariyo
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) says the rehabilitation of inmates and ex-offenders will reduce crime, promote public safety and national security.
The Controller, NCoS FCT command, Mr Francis John, said this at the inauguration of a project tagged Inside-out initiative and presentations of after care materials to ex-offenders by Hope Behind Bars Africa in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Hope behind bars Africa is a social impact organisation working to reform criminal justice system through a human rights lens.
It is also to empower inmates in custodial centers through skills acquisition and other programmes that can help them stand on their feet.
John said that the inauguration of the initiative and the presentation of the materials would compliment the efforts of the Service in offenders reentry into the society and resettlement.
He said that the presentation was significant and a welcome gesture worthy of emulation by other well-meaning individuals and organisations.
John added that one of the major needs of ex-offenders was employment or means to earn a living, adding that when that was absent, such person would be porous to crime.
He also said that the Hope behind bars Africa had significantly assisted in promoting a smooth reintegration of the benefitting persons for a better society.
According to him, the job of ensuring offenders’ reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration should not be left to the service alone.
“This initiative will contribute a great deal in reducing insecurity in Nigeria because when we get them engaged before they return to the society, crime will be reduced.
“There is an adage that says an idle mind is a devils workshop. If we are able to empower inmates or give employment to ex-offenders, we have successfully taken their minds off crime.
“All Nigerians have a stake in ensuring that offenders are well managed and resettled. Therefore, this presentation by Hope behind bars Africa will go a long way in empowering the inmates, their families as well as dependants.
“By extension, the general public will benefit from this gesture because it will reduce crime and criminality, hence, promoting public safety and national security, “he said.
The NCoS boss encouraged the general public to give the returning offenders a second chance and also accept them with open hands and hearts.
John admonished the ex-offenders who benefited from the transformational gesture to make use of the materials for their personal benefits and for the good of their communities.
In her remarks, the Executive Director, Hope Behind Bars Africa, Oluwafunke Adeoye, said that insecurity had been a major concern in the country presently.
Adeoye said that one of the major causes of crime and criminality in the society was poverty, adding that supporting the NCoS in rehabilitating and reintegrating inmates to the society would reduce the trends.
She said that inmates rehabilitation would not only help inmates be better persons in their daily doings but also reduce to barest minimum the rate of insecurity in the country.
She also said that the organisation was putting together programmes that would be of good benefit to both the staff and inmates of the Correctional service.
This, she said would build the staff so they could empower the inmates across all custodial centres.
According to her, the inside-out initiative is centered on helping those behind bars with skills that can help them stand up on their feet when they leave the prisons.
“After working with them, we then empower them so they can have source of livelihood. This is also one of the ways to curb insecurity and criminal activities in Nigeria.
“We understand that when people leave the prisons, they tend to be seen as criminals but when they are equipped, crimes will be reduced,” she said.
Adeoye appealed to communities to also support and join hands with the Government to achieve the set goals and objectives of the correctional service.
One of the beneficiaries, Peter Pedro, appreciated the organisation and the Correctional Service for their support and love in ensuring ex-offenders were properly rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society.
Pedro lauded the organisation for giving the after care materials to cater for their families and others.
Highpoint of event was the presentations of after care materials to two ex-offenders who had learned fisheries, and media equipment to the public relations unit of the command.(NAN) (http://www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Benson Iziama/Maharazu Ahmed