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CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF NIGERIA CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE PERENNIAL PROBLEM OF AWAITING TRIAL IN PORT HARCOURT MAXIMUM PRISON, RIVERS STATE
The essence of incarceration is for correctional purposes, however, the ineffectiveness of the Nigeria Criminal Justice System (NCJS) have denied most suspects the privilege of enjoying these correctional privileges. This study therefore assessed the Nigeria criminal justice system and the problem of awaiting trial in Port Harcourt Maximum Prison, Rivers State. Three research questions were raised to guide the study. The study adopted the survey research design. An 18-item questionnaire captioned “Questionnaire on Nigeria criminal justice system and awaiting trial problem” (QNCJSWTP) was designed by the researchers and used in gathering data for the study. Data were gathered from one hundred and eighty seven (187) respondents consisting of inmates and warders. The respondents were purposively selected from Port Harcourt Maximum prison, Rivers State. The generated data were presented using charts and simple percentage. Findings indicated that, rigidity of the penal law, holding charges, and delay in the disposal of cases by the agencies of NCJS has contributed to the problem of awaiting trial in Port Harcourt Maximum Prison, Rivers State, Nigeria. The study recommended that, there should be more professional commitment, on the part of stakeholders, in order to check the rise in awaiting trial problem in Port Harcourt maximum Prison.
KEYWORDS: Nigeria criminal justice system, awaiting trial, rigidity of the penal law, holding charges, delay in the disposal of cases.