Fostering Social Justice: A Glimpse into Prison Welfare and the Nigerian Judicial System

“Behind the cold steel bars of our prisons lies a chilling tale of shattered dreams, forgotten humanity, and a system that demands redemption as urgently as those it confines.” In the pursuit of a just and equitable society, the lens turns to one often overlooked aspect – prison welfare.  Nigeria, like many nations, grapples with challenges within its penal system, raising critical questions about social justice. Two  critical issues in the system are:  The State of Nigerian Prisons: Nigeria’s prison system faces multifaceted challenges, including overcrowding, inadequate facilities, and limited access to healthcare. As custodians of justice, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that these spaces promote rehabilitation and humane treatment rather than perpetuating cycles of hardship.  Legal Aid and Access to Justice: Ensuring access to legal representation is a cornerstone of social justice. Many individuals in Nigerian prisons face prolonged detention without trial due to various factors, including lack of legal representation. Strengthening legal aid initiatives is crucial to upholding the principles of fairness and justice.  A paradigm shift is essential – from punitive measures to a focus on rehabilitation. Prisoners should be provided with opportunities for education, vocational training, and mental health support to facilitate their reintegration into society. This approach not only serves the cause of social justice but also contributes to reducing recidivism. Our “Beyond the Walls Initiative, a five-year, self-funded project is one of the strategies we use to involve stakeholders in favor of criminal justice reforms. Where we support the convicts’ well-being and a shorter court process timeline by providing Pro-bono and psycho-social support services. We are in favor of correctional facilities modernizing their systems to make them more favorable to inmate reintegration and prison decongestion. The pursuit of social justice in Nigeria demands a comprehensive examination of the state of prison welfare. By advocating for humane conditions, rehabilitation, and access to justice, we can collectively contribute to a society that upholds the principles of fairness and compassion. Let us embark on this journey, fostering a system where justice is not only blind but also empathetic, recognizing the inherent dignity and potential for redemption in every individual.

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Legend DA’s Story

Legend DA (Not his real name) was arrested in 2018 and charged with armed robbery and homicide. DA always maintained his innocence. He was remanded in Kuje Correctional Center and was kept awaiting trial for 4 years. Our team took up his case and in 2022, DA was discharged after the Judge granted a motion praying the court to strike off his name from the charge due to lack of evidence against him. LGCF helped DA with transport money back to Kogi, where he is now reunited with his family.

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Executive director giving speech

Press Conference on Awaiting Trial Syndrome

Legend Golden Care Foundation had a media press briefing on the Awaiting Trial Syndrome in Nigeria held at the Office of the foundation on 27th October 2022 with various stakeholders in attendance which included; the  Representatives of a member of the house of representatives (chairman house committee on judiciary), Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Correctional Service, Civil Society Organizations, legal practitioners and the media.  The purpose of the event was to present the communique to the public and as well get the stakeholders to adopt the recommendations from the stakeholder’s dialogue held on the 22nd of September 2022.

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