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  • PROJECT TITLE: ANALYSIS OF THE RIGHTS OF INMATES IN KAURA NAMODA SATELITE PRISON, ZAMFARA STATE
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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” UDHR (1948; 111). The rights addressed here are those inherent in dignity in the concept of worth and value of a man as human being. Rodley (1999), observed that as good as these rights are entitled to human being; it is not totally clear whether inmates or prisoners have recognizable rights embracing this dignity of human person. This is traceable to the United Kingdom when in (1988), the bill of rights aptly outlaw cruel and unusual treatment, set stage for a universal standard for the treatment of prisoners in detention. America proclaims such rights, Canada in its charter replicated same, and South Africa represents a good example of a constitutional democracy that incorporates such ideals. Nigeria and most other countries who albeit do not incorporate but recognize that prisoners be treated with human respect.

Human rights are those accrued to one because they are human being. These rights are equal and inalienable to all human beings (Donnelly, 1999). In this respect, international human rights instrument recognize such rights; a typical example is the minimum standard rule which set minimum standard for the treatment of prisoners.

There is a climate of view represented by the society’s emphasis on the retributive nature of imprisonment, thus prisoners’ rights should be juxtaposed with public security concerns of panel institutions. To this end, some scholars argue that prisoner’s rights to some extent are limited in the most part. While others canvass that inmate do not relinquish all constitutional rights on admission into the prison. The minimum standard rule in its rules {9-22} graphically specifies provision for accommodation, floor space, bed and bedding, ventilation, personal hygiene, sanitation, classification of inmates, medical care, contact to family members and access to legal representation. The issue of overcrowding is critical problem which has led to the infraction of these rights, the high influx of persons in prison result to strain and deteriorating prison conditions coercing inmates to devise means of survival which traumatize prisoners both physical and mentally (Steinberg, 2005).

Nigeria prisons are filled with people whose human rights are systematically violated. Approximately 65% of the inmates are awaiting trial most of whom have been waiting for several years. Most of the inmates in Nigeria prison are too poor to be able to pay lawyers, and only one in seven of those awaiting trial have private legal representation. Although government legal aids exist, there are too few legal aid lawyers for the cases that require representation.

Living condition in the prisons is appalling. They are damaging to the physical and mental wellbeing of inmates and in many cases constitute clear threats to health. Conditions such as overcrowding, poor sanitation, lack of food, medicines and denial of contact with friends and families fall short of UN standard of treatment of prisoners(Amnesty international, 2008).In many

Nigerian prisons inmates sleep two to a bed or on the floor in filthy cells. Toilets are blocked and overflowing or simply inexistence, and there is no running water. As a result disease is widespread.

Most prisons have small clinic or sickbay which lack medicine, and in many prison inmates have to pay for their own medicines. Guards frequently demand that inmates pay bribe for such privileges as visiting the hospitals, receiving visitors, and in some cases been allowed outside their cells at all. One inmate said: “if you don’t have money, if you come to prison you will suffer, they collect money from you, it is not right”.

The Nigerian government has, on numerous occasions, stated its willingness to reform the criminal justice system, acknowledging its role in creating a situation of prolonged      detention      and      overcrowding.           Despite           many presidential committees and commission recommending reform of the criminal justice system, these recommendations have not been implemented. Instead, the government has simply setup new committees and commission to study, review and harmonize the previous recommendation. The reality remain that those in prison stand little chance of their right being respected. Those who lack money stand even less chance, (Amnesty international, 2008).

The conditions of prisoner’s daily life form an important part of his treatment. This study will be conducted to analyze the rights of inmates in kauraKamoda

satellite prison. 

1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM

Prisons are conceived as correctional institution. They already are or are fast becoming so in many part of the world. They are usually structured to identify the peculiar problem of each inmate and devise means of guiding the individual out of the problem. And therefore, they are supposed to enjoy some basic rights. Nigeria’s prison is filled with people whose human rights are

systematically violated.

Osefo (1990) opined that prison as an institution for rehabilitation has been subject of various studies. Musa (1999) opined that facilities for vocational training, health, food, clothing and recreational facilities are ideal of prison system as rehabilitator. Prison system in Nigeria is faced with problem of destroying the inmates which negate the essence of imprisonment, amounting to human development wastage (Obiaha, 2011).

Constitutionally prisoners are entitled to many rights to enable them live in average comfort.In spite of the daily agitation by the human right organization, most prisons in Nigeria are overcrowded beyond their capacity (Ifionu, 1987; Obiaha, 2011). This manifest in most of the prisons holding more population of inmates than they were originally planned to accommodate which in turn overstretches available infrastructure beyond their limit of function due to human pressure.

As according to human rights watch, prisoners suffer a wide range of violations; some are directly inflicted while others are the result of logistical deficiencies. Prisons in many countries in the world are overcrowded and congested, have decaying infrastructure, lack hygiene and adequate health facilities, and, as a result, prisoners’ health and their very lives are in danger.A further threat to prisoners is in regard to physical abuse, which has been documented by different organizations where prisoners are subjected to corporal punishment and torture. Other types of ill-treatment include deprivation or reduction of diet, isolation for extended periods of time, use of leg irons, shackles and chains, Human rights watch (2004).

The imprisonment is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of crime. As a form of punishment imprisonment restricts or confines an offender to a place, usually the prison, where they are held against their wish. By its nature imprisonment does some positive effect to the offender. However, apart from the positive impact other negative effect emanate, such as loss of freedom, depression and rejection by the member of the society.

In Nigeria, prisoners do not receive adequate welfare during their imprisonment. The condition of prisoners in Nigeria is appalling which may cause damage to the physical and mental wellbeing of inmates. This research will be conducted to analyze the rights of inmates in KauraNamoda prison.

1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The central questions on which the attention will be focused in the research are:

I.               Whatare the rights of inmates in KauraNamoda prison (especially in terms of access to basic facilities)?

II.             What are the aspects of prisoners’ rights infringement in KauraNamoda

satellite Prison? 

1.5 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

I.               To             identify           the      rights of         inmates          in         KauraNamoda      satellite

prison(especially in terms of access to basic facilities).

II.             Examine the aspect of prisoners’ rights infringement in KauraNamoda prison.

1.6  RELEVANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is relevance for two reasons: prisoners are a vulnerable group of people, whose rights are neglected routinely and whose plight is little known or understood. Attempt at intervention are often met with reluctance. Prisoners are identified more for the crime they have committed or are alleged to have committed than with the fact that they are human beings and possessor of some rights as other human beings. This research seek to bring this latter fact to the light in the hope that attitude can be changed to reflect this reality. Secondly it is hope that by specifically empowering national human rights with the oversight functions these changes in both attitude and actual condition of prisons will be become manifest sooner rather than later.

1.7  SCOPE AND LIMITATION

The scope of this study is the analyses of rights of inmates in KauraNamoda satellite prison. Prison as a correctional institution where convicted and nonconvicted criminals are been confined for a considerable time period for the purpose of rehabilitation. The study employs simple random sampling

techniques in order to study the rights of inmates. Since the study will be carried out in single location it will be difficult to make generalization beyond that specific location. Although, there are prison in all the thirty six(36) states of the federation. The findings of this study will not be generalized to cover and reflect the situation of other prisons in other state in Nigeria. Research on other prison should be carried out to reflect the views of inmates in relation to their rights.

1.8  OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

IMPRISONMENT: - It is a confinement in a prison for either life or specific period of time. According to amnesty international (2008), imprisonment is the restriction or confinement of an offender to a place usually the prison, where they are held against their wish.

INMATES: - prisoner is generally defined as anyone deprive of his liberty either awaiting trial or as a result of conviction for any offence.

Prison: - a place of either long term or short term confinement for those who have been found violating law. According to Okunola (1986) conceived prison as where people are highly secluded from the rest of the world with entirely new order of control.

PRISON INMATES: - Is a person incarcerated in prison which can be convicted or non-convicted. According to Tanimu (2010), prison inmates are person suspected or proved guilty of a crime alleged against him/her and sentenced to imprisonment.

REHABILITATION: - Rehabilitation includes providing psychological and educational assistance or job training to offenders to make them less likely to engage in future criminality. An act of encouraging the prison inmates to abstain from criminal behavior, by providing them with vocational, educational and social training to enable them conforms to law of the society. According to Smith (2003), rehabilitation is the process by which prisoner acquire skills necessary towards their smooth integration into mainstream of the society to lead a normal life after completion of sentence. To Culen and Gendreau (2000), as quoted in Sarkin (2008), sees rehabilitation in a broader sense as social relation with others, education and vocational skills, and employment. This is intended to make the offender less likely to break the law in the future or to reduce recidivism.

RIGHTS OF INMATES: - This refers to the rights and privileges afforded to individuals kept in custody or confinement against their will because they have been convicted of performing an unlawful act.  


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