Prison officer ©

British Council/Nick Cavanagh

Courts in Nigeria routinely send offenders to prison, even for petty crimes. When fines are imposed, many poor offenders cannot afford to pay them and end up spending time in prison instead. This creates a problem of overcrowding in prisons. Prison facilities and staff are often stretched beyond their ability to cope, which can lead to unrest. 

The recent Nigerian Correctional Services Act enables courts and correctional services to use non-custodial measures to deal with persons convicted of minor crimes. A non-custodial measure is an alternative to a prison sentence where offenders are supervised for a time by a probation officer. 

The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme worked with stakeholders to raise awareness about non-custodial measures and support states to institute them.

You can download the how to guide below. We hope you find it useful.