Enugu Govt pledges to support implementation of non-custodial measures

Posted by News Express | 24 February 2021 | 572 times

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•Enugu State Chief Judge, Justice Priscilla Emehelu



The Enugu State Government, on Tuesday, pledged to support the successful implementation of non-custodian measures in the judicial system of the state.

The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Priscilla Emehelu, gave the assurance while speaking at the Enugu State Consultative Workshop for Government Agencies and Relevant Stakeholders on Effective Implementation on Non-Custodial Measures.

Emehelu, who was represented by Justice Raymond Ozoemena, said that the state judiciary was participating actively and fully in the workshop to learn more and further understand non-custodial measures.

“We are assuring the stakeholders here of the unflinching support of the state judiciary to see to the full implementation of non-custodial measures.

“The state and all stakeholders here will also drive the immense benefits as we work towards its implementation in the state,” she said.

Earlier, the Controller of Corrections in the State, Mr. Joseph Emelue, said that Prison Act was repealed and replaced with the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) Act 2019 enacted to make provision for the administration of custodial and non-custodial measures.

Emelue explained that non-custodial measures are punishment given to offenders without necessarily sending them to custodian centres; thus, ensuring that the offender remains in the society while carrying out his/her punishment.

He said that the non-custodial measures included; community service; probation; parole; restorative justice and any other non-custodial measure assigned to the correctional service by a court.

“It has been observed that those in custody are uprooted from their socio-ecological base and relocated in a strange and sometimes hostile environment thereby causing serious dislocation.

“Secondly, it is believed that long stay in custody makes it possible for offenders to be re-socialised to higher levels of criminality.

“In view of the forgoing constraints in the custodial measures, and in line with international best practices, the non-custodial measures appear to hold the ace in corrections especially because it allows for seamless reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.

“This is no doubt a veritable paradigm shift. For example, an offender sentenced to community service to clean a court-room in his place of abode for three weeks will do so without any social, economic or ecological dislocation,” he said.

One of the stakeholders, Mr. Chika Njoku, lauded the Federal Government for the new NCoS law and the immense benefits inherent in the non-custodial measures to individuals, families and society at large.

Njoku, who is the Zonal Commander of Federal Fire Service, said: "Non-custodial measures, especially for minor offences, remained the way to go and I urge everybody to support the NCoS and Federal Government to achieve this.

Another stakeholder, Igwe Emmanuel Ugwu, Traditional Ruler of Ibeagwa Nike Community, assured the NCoS Enugu State Command of his community resolve to support the new non-custodial measures.

Ugwu, who was represented by Chief Callistus Okolo, said that the community was ready to be part of the implementation, adding: “We will assist the NCoS see to it successful implement in our community.”

Mrs. Chioma Anuna, Head of Office, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), said that the laws of the land must be reviewed to decriminalise and declassify petty offences; which is induced by poverty or necessity of economic survivor.

“At times, you notice that most people in custodial centres are there basically for petty offences where they are trying to eke out a daily living.

“So, to punish such offenders if necessary; non-custodial measures that would not put more hardship on the person or his independents is the best way to go,” Anuna said.

Source: News Express

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