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How To Reduce Hardened Criminals In The Society — Ondo CJ

The Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Williams Akinrotoye, on Wednesday said correctional centres tend to breed hardened criminals and posited on how to reduce hardened criminals in the society.

Akinrotoye who lamented over the congestion of prisons and police custody by suspects across the state noted that some innocent people have taken to correctional centres across the country usually turned out to be hardened criminals tormenting the society.

The Chief Judge, while speaking during a workshop organised by the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee with the theme, “Effective implementation of the Provision of ACJA/ ACJL in Nigeria held at Akure, the Ondo State capital, described the development as worrisome.

He said, “Suspects staying too long in the detention at the correctional centres might become hardened criminal, when they got out, hence the need to prevent prolonged detention.

“Congestion of the correctional centres is giving me a sleepless night, we are trying to see what we can do to decongest these correctional centres and police stations, and not only to decongest, we are also trying to see what we can do to prevent some innocent people from getting there at all.

“lt is better to nip some issues in the bud rather than allowing them to snowball and start to run helter-skelter for a solution.

“You allow somebody who is innocent, maybe he was arrested because of misfortune and you allow him or her to stay in the correctional centre for a long time by the time he comes out, he would have become a hardened criminal.

“It is better we don’t allow such persons get there at all so we are working assiduously to ensure that we prevent so many souls from prison contamination, we should not allow them to get there in the first place.”

He, however, said efforts are ongoing to design a way to prevent prolonged detention that causes congestion in the correctional centres across the state.

Speaking on the function of the committee, the Chief Judge, said, “it is to ensure that criminal matters are speedily dealt with, that congestion of criminal cases in courts is drastically reduced, congestion in prisons is reduced to the barest minimum and persons awaiting trial are as much as possible not detained in prison custody.

The Executive Secretary of the ACJMC in the state, Mrs Bola Joe, in her remarks, recalled that the ACJ Law came into force in 2015 while the committee was inaugurated in 2019.

Joe lamented that the committee was facing some challenges which included inadequate funding from the government, lack of tools to work in their secretariat and inadequate staff.

She opined that “the challenges will soon be surmounted and the committee will be up and doing in realizing its mandate as provided in section 426 of the ACJ Law of Ondo State 2015.

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