Former CJ-others advocate improved conditions in borstal centres
The Chairman Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion/Former Chief Justice of the FCT High Court, Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello has tasked Kaduna justice stakeholders on the need to improve conditions of juveniles in Borstal Institutions.
According to a statement by the Deputy Director (Information) dated 25th July, 2022, Mrs Modupe Ogundoro , the former CJ made the call during a Virtual meeting with Kaduna justice stakeholders held in Abuja on Monday 25th July, 2022.
In a keynote address, the retired Hon. Justice of the FCT High Court noted that the committee had earlier proposed a range of interventions to reduce re-offending in juveniles to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Some of those interventions according to him included; therapeutic measures to address the psychological causes of criminal behaviour, as well as provision of services to prepare juveniles for reintegration into the society after release.
He also listed some of the services to include; enrollment in academic programmes and skills acquisition such as carpentry, plumbing, shoe and soap making amongst others. The Committee had also recommended the need for Female Borstal Institutions as well.
While enumerating on the challenges facing the Borstal institution in the country.
He added, “The committee had dispatched an assessment team to the three Borstal Institutes in the country to conduct a profile/needs and risk assessment of juveniles with minor offences and found out that many of the children were in the institutes as Beyond Parental Control (BPC).
“The main aim of the exercise was to determine the best rehabilitation and re-integration programme for each boy and were appropriate to determine which boys can be re-unified with their families,”
Bello thereafter recommended the release of juveniles that have completed their terms of three years and those having health challenge, saying they should be discharged.
He then thanked the Kaduna State government for giving the Committee the opportunity to carry out the exercise. He hoped that the boys would be able to benefit from the intervention.
In her opening remarks, the Acting Director, Administration of Criminal Justice Reforms/Secretary, Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion, Mrs. Leticia Ayoola-Daniels said the aim of the meeting was to organize a coordinated judicial action with the Hon. Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaduna State, the Chief Judge, Commissioner of Social Welfare Department, Comptroller-General of Correctional Service, the principal of Borstal Institute and Legal Aid Council to determine the situation of Juveniles in Kaduna Borstal Institution with a view of releasing those found due and qualified for release. She added that the judicial action would also provide legal and psycho-social support to them for proper reintegration back into the society.
Ayoola-Daniels applauded and appreciated the dedication and commitment of all stakeholders towards the implementation of the juvenile decongestion programme. She also welcomes continuous support of development partners and donor agencies.
During the inspection, the Technical Lead of the Ministry’s Assessment Team, Barrister Ugonna Ezekwem said 255 students ranging from 16 to 21 years of age were admitted at the Borstal Centre in Kaduna from 2019 to 2022.