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PRISONERS’ RIGHTS: SETTING A GLOBAL STANDARD FOR NIGERIAN INMATES
Imprisonment is a form of sentence handed down from colonial rule, which has clearly put an end to the primitive type of punishment like stoning, impaling, hanging, ostracism, banishment, selling offenders into slavery, etc. It involves the refutation of liberty where a prisoner has to be confined to prison custody. Nevertheless, imprisonment is a punishment and not an aid to punishment. A prisoner in prison detention does not totally forfeit his natural rights due him as human. In Nigeria, prisoners are treated wrongly. The state, reformatory officials and society see prisoners as a burden and no longer human beings owing to their criminal transgression. The Nigerian reformatory environment is unhealthy, congested and lack correctional infrastructure owing to neglect by the Government and corruption. In spite of the fact that national and international laws recognized their original rights first as human beings and as Nigerian citizens, inmates continue to suffer. This article tried to x-ray these essential human rights as put forward by international law and the truth that such rights are not observed in the Nigerian prison system even though Nigeria has ratified these international norms as a member state. It concluded that the condition of Nigerian prisoners is far from the globally acceptable standard. To this light, it made certain recommendations, which includes that a Commission should be formed to be solely responsible for the Nigerian reformatory services, extant laws should be amended to reflect the true aims of imprisonment, the scuffle against corruption should be intensified in Nigeria, etc. These measures if observed will improve the lot of Nigerian inmates to meet up the international most excellent practices.
Keywords: Prisoners, prisons, human rights, liberty, global standard, inmates, prisoners’ rights, Nigerian prison services