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1.1 Background to the study

The objective of incarceration according to section 2(4) of the Nigerian Prison Act (1972) is to strive to identify the reason for anti- social behaviour of the criminals; to train, rehabilitate and reform them to be good and helpful citizens. It is consequently expected that the recidivism will reduce if the aim of imprisonment is attained by planning and providing proper rehabilitation of inmates. This will help them to be law abiding citizens of the society and engage in constructive enterprises for their daily life on release from prison.

Colonial prisons in Nigeria were not built for reformation or rehabilitation rather prisons were intended to be punishing. As a measure of sanction and correction, therefore, prisoners were put to work mostly on public projects and in other capacities for the colonial administration (Investigating Human Right, n:d; 176-184). At the end of the Second World War (1939-1945), there was a tremendous shift in criminal thought, notably in colonial areas. The rehabilitating and rehabilitating of criminals became a concern in addition to their punishment, which meant that the emphasis was no longer exclusively placed on punishing criminals (Igbo, 2007). It is asserted, in an official capacity, that the nature of the function played by the Nigerian prison services is tripartite. To begin, the agency is accountable for the secure detention of individuals who have been ordered to be interned. In the second place, it gives them access to treatment, and in the third place, it works to rehabilitate them. Treatment and rehabilitation of offenders can be achieved through carefully designed and well-articulated administrative, reformative, and rehabilitative programmes, according to the philosophy of the Nigerian prison service. These programmes aim to inculcate discipline, respect for the law and order, and regard for the dignity of honest labour (Nigerian Prison Services, 2009).

A prisoner without proper rehabilitation opportunity through skills training and capacity building frequently returns to the society which has confined him or her as a hardened opponent of that society. A person who has been released from prison but still views themselves as victims rather than as people who need to be corrected frequently has a strong desire for revenge. In addition, a person who has been incarcerated in the past is almost certainly going to cause more problems than they solve for a society that is invariably seen as an oppressive regime. This circumstance explains to a very large extent why a large number of formerly incarcerated Nigerians end up being repeat offenders (Ugwuoke, 2015).

The rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals should start the moment they are brought into the facility and continue until the day they are released from the facility (Igbo, 2007). This is done to guarantee that they put the skills they have gained throughout the course of their rehabilitation to good use and live a life that is compliant with the laws of society. There are a variety of programmes available that are designed to redirect those who have been convicted of a crime into more positive and constructive activities. These activities include participation in moral or religious organisations, education, and other forms of vocational training. In light of the fact that the efforts of the prisons in equipping the inmates with vocational skills are met with a variety of problems, questions as to whether the prisons are actually rehabilitating convicts, the effectiveness of these rehabilitation programmes, or whether there is an existing conflict between the punitive ideas of imprisonment inherited from colonialism and the need for rehabilitation are issues that are causes for concern.

Ugwuoke (2013) made the observation that Nigeria’s prison institutions have to fulfil a variety of responsibilities that are in direct opposition to one another. On the one hand, it is believed that criminals will be reformed and rehabilitated within the prisons. On the other hand, it is expected that the prisons will perform the retributive function of ensuring that inmates are sufficiently punished for their crimes. In spite of the fact that the Nigerian prisons service is tasked with the onerous responsibility of ensuring the safe custody of offenders in addition to their reformation and rehabilitation (Nigerian prisons services, 2009), a significant portion of the prisons’ activities are geared toward meting out punishment. As a result of this, (Ugwuoke, 2015) asserted that the Nigerian prisons service is in a predicament due to the fact that techniques of rehabilitation and punishment are incompatible with one another. Because of this, one can’t help but wonder whether inmates are genuinely receiving therapeutic treatment in jails or whether these institutions continue to rely on punitive methods. As a result of this, Nigerian prisons have a tough time carrying out their legally mandated tasks, which include the incarceration of criminals as well as their reeducation and reintegration into society (NPS, Annual Report, 2000).

In light of the conversation that has just taken place, the purpose of this study is to establish the degree to which incarcerated individuals at the Pankshin Custodial centre can benefit from rehabilitation in order to become more reformed.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

The notion that Nigerian prisons are involved in carefully structured and well-articulated reformative and rehabilitative programmes that are aimed at inculcating discipline and respect among convicts (Nigerian Prison Services, 2009) is not seen in the characteristics of the majority of ex-convicts. Adjustment of discharged criminals in Nigeria has become a significant problem since society has grown to view such discharged inmates as social outcasts who are not receptive to corrections. This has caused the society to view such discharged convicts as a problem that cannot be corrected. Therefore, people who have been released from prison are stigmatised and treated in a socially unacceptable manner. They are sometimes forced to return to criminal activity as a result of this rejection by society. In addition, (Latessa & Allen, 1999) presented the viewpoint that an inmate who has been incarcerated for a longer period of time has had his propensities toward criminality strengthened, and as a result, is more likely to recidivate than an inmate who has been incarcerated for a shorter period of time and has therefore served a lesser amount of time. They contended that jails are similar to schools of crime, in which offenders learn more criminal behaviour from their other inmates (inmates).

During their time behind bars, prison convicts who participate in rehabilitation programmes are more likely to leave prison with the skills necessary to find services, opportunities, and jobs after they are released. A number of different rehabilitation programmes have been implemented across a number of different correctional facilities thanks to the efforts of the government. A variety of different programmes, including adult literacy classes, tailoring, welding, carpentry, and farming, are included here. In light of this, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of rehabilitation on reformation and reintegration of inmates in Pankshin Custodial Centre, Plateau State

1.3. Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the effects of rehabilitation on reformation and reintegration of inmates in Pankshin Custodial Centre, Plateau State. Specifically, this study seeks:

  1. To find out the rehabilitation services offered to inmates.
  2. To determine the effect of rehabilitation programme on the reformation of inmates of Pankshin Custodial centre.
  3. To find out the challenges confronting rehabilitation of inmates in Pankshin custodial centre.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are used to guide the study:

  1. What are the rehabilitation services offered to inmates in Pankshin custodial centre?
  2. To what extent does the rehabilitation programme reform the inmates in Pankshin Custodial centre?
  • What are the challenges confronting rehabilitation of inmates in Pankshin custodial centre?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The relevance of this research to real-world issues is unmistakable, and the people who stand to gain the most from it are prisoners, both during and after serving their sentences, as well as the society to which they belong and the government.

During their time in prison, inmates gain knowledge and skills that make it easier for them to complete their sentence by getting engaged in learning the activities that help them pass the time. After their release, inmates now considered ex-convicts become reformed individuals by putting whatever skills and knowledge they have acquired into practise, which in turn helps them find employment and earn an income that allows them to support themselves and their families. In the end, this will assist them to reintegrate into society again as better individuals who have improved their personalities and views.

This research has a number of important implications, one of the most important being that it will make it possible for the society in which these formerly incarcerated people now live to continue to enjoy peace and harmony in their daily lives.

The establishments run by formerly incarcerated individuals will lead to an increase in the demand for manpower in the society, as well as an increase in the supply of labour thanks to the experience and expertise that the formerly incarcerated individuals were required to have obtained during their time spent in prison.

The government also indirectly benefits from this in the sense that once former inmates have obtained the desired rehabilitation, there will be a reduction in crime rates. This is due to the fact that the individuals will eventually become engaged in one activity or another and will no longer give themselves over to criminal acts. As a result, the government will experience peaceful administration and political activities. If one thinks about it from a different perspective, the economic state of the nation will improve when these offenders start their own businesses and hire people to work for them.

Finally, the study will contribute to the body of literature on rehabilitation and reformation of inmates. When it is finished, it will serve as reference materials to future researchers who would want to wade more investigation in this area of study.

1.6. Scope of the Study

The study is limited to Effect of Rehabilitation on Reformation and Reintegration of Inmates. It is limited Pankshin custodial centre in Plateau State. Despite the fact that the study focuses on the Pankshin custodial centre, its findings shall be generalized to other custodial centres within the state and the country at large.


1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

  • Correction Centre: An institutional building where those who have committed one crime or the other are kept as punishment which acts as reformation centers for criminals.
  • Inmates: People who are living in prison confinement for committing crimes.
  • Jail term: The period with which a criminal will remain in custody of prison.
  • Reformation: The act of improving or changing somebody.
  • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation in this context is the whole process of making a prisoner useful to himself and the society by imparting in him basic skills and knowledge that will enable him regain his social functioning upon discharge.
  • Recidivism: Recidivism is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have experienced negative consequences of that behavior. It is also used to refer to the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested for a similar offense.
  • Reintegration: Reintegration occurs when the victim or offender can become active and productive parts of their communities. 
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