BY INNOCENT OROK
President Mohammadu Buhari has given his assent to change the name of Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) to Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).
What this means is that , with the signing of the new Act by the president, the prisons Act has been repealed and now called Correctional Service.
According to Senator Ita Enang,
Presidential Liaison to the National Assembly – Senate, the new Acts signed into law are :
1. Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019 and
2. Federal Universities of Agriculture (Amendment No.2) Act, 2019
“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the within named Acts, as analysed below:
Nigerian Correctional Service Bill, 2019
This Act repeals the Prisons Acts and changes the name from Nigeria Prisons Service to Nigerian Correctional Service, otherwise known as ‘’the Correctional Service.’’
There are, according to the Act, two main faculties of the Correctional Service, namely:
The CUSTODIAL SERVICE is to custody and take control of persons legally interned in safe, secure and humane conditions.
Conveying remand persons to and from courts in motorized formations; identifying the existence and causes of anti-social behaviours of inmates;
Conducting risk and needs assessment aimed at developing appropriate correctional treatment methods for reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration;
Implementing reformation and rehabilitation programmes to enhance the reintegration of inmates back into the society
Initiating behavior modification in inmates through the provision of medical, psychological, spiritual and counseling services for all offenders including violent extremists.
Others are empowering inmates through the deployment of educational and vocational skills training programmes and facilitating incentives and income generation through Custodial Centres, farms and industries;
administering borstal and related institutions, providing support to facilitate the speedy disposal of cases of persons awaiting trialand
performing other functions as may be required to further the general goals of the Service.
Its further provides in Section 12 (2) (c) ‘’that where an inmate sentenced to death has exhausted all legal procedures for appeal and a period of 10 years has elapsed without execution of the sentence, the Chief Judge may commute the sentence of death to life imprisonment.
And Section 12 (8) empowers the state Controller of the Service to reject more intakes of inmates where it is apparent that the Correctional Centre in question is filled to capacity.
THE NIGERIAN NON-CUSTODIAL SERVICE:
This non-custodial faculty of the Correctional Service is responsible for the administration of non-custodial measures, namely Community Service, probation, parole, restorative justice measures and such other measures as a court of competent jurisdiction may order.
Restorative Justice measure approved in the Act include victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, community mediation and other conciliatory measures as may be deemed necessary pre-trial, trial during imprisonment or even post-imprisonment stages.
In another development, the FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES OF AGRICULTURE (Amendment No.2) Act, 2019 was also assented to by the president.
This Act amends the Federal Universities of Agriculture Act, Cap. F22, Law of the Federation of Nigeria to change the name of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi in Benue State to JOSEPH SARWUAN TARKA University, Makurdi.