Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Controller of Prisons Anambra State Command of the Nigeria Prisons Service Barr. Emmanuel Anekwe Nwakeze says that the school opportunities granted inmates have enabled one of the prisoners to run his masters degree programme while in custody.
Nwakeze who described the prison as remand home, said inmates were not tortured but kept in safe and humane custody to give them hope to actualise their dreams even in the cells.
The Anambra Controller of Prisons who spoke on the welfare of the inmates on Thursday at the command headquarters Awka, noted that the prison authorities also created other avenues for the inmates to acquire vocational and entreprenuerial skills to make them useful and engageable upon discharge.
He further disclosed that they reduce pains of incarceration on the inmates through visitations by families, friends, public-spirited individuals and others.
According to him, the welfare and wellbeing of detained inmates were of paramount importance to prison officers and as a result, they ensure that the prisoners don’t lose their self-esteem or undergo any form of pyschological breakdown while in custody.
Nwakeze also posited that the sanitary conditions of the cells in Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and Aguata prisons were taken cognisance of as officers ensured that the dormitories and surroundings were disinfected amidst adequate water supply and food for inmates in all the divisions in Anambra.
He acknowledged the congestions in the prisons saying that Awka prison capacity was 238 but currently housed 348 inmates. He said Onitsha prison capacity was 326 but harboured 917 currently.
Nnewi prison, according to him, has capacity to contain 160 inmates but has about 294 occupants while Aguata prison should contain about 80 inmates but currently contains about 198 occupants pointing out that the prison capacities in Anambra had been exceeded.
The Controller of Prisons noted that congestions in the cells were as a result of the interplay of some factors as evident in case adjournments as well as delay in justice dispensation.
He said to decongest the cells was not building more prisons but to make administration of criminal justice law more effective and very functional. He added that the law should be implemented religiously to aid justice delivery.
Nwakeze however noted that the family system had failed woefully due to insatiate quest for money.
He said parents had abandoned their primary responsibilities of observing their children and as a result, moral decadence had become the order of the day leading to escalation of crime and criminality as young people abound in prison custody.