The Controller of Prisons, Nasarawa State Command, Mr Emmanuel Okoro, on Thursday solicited the supports of traditional institutions for positive engagement of young inmates.
Okoro said this would help the inmates to better their lives and the society at large.
He made the call when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman, Nasarawa State Traditional Council of Chiefs and Emir of Lafia, former Justice Sidi Bage, in Lafia.
The state prison boss said he would work toward changing the view that saw prisons as dumping ground for the society’s rejects.
According to him, prisons should exploit provisions within the extant laws the positive ways of engaging our widely youthful inmates population in Nasarawa state, such that the inmates, state and the prisons will benefit.
“I think within the extant laws there are positive ways of engaging our widely youthful inmates population in the state wherein everyone will be a winner — the inmates, the state and the prisons.
“I know that the traditional institutions and his Royal Highness as a retired Justice of the Supreme Court will play a very vital role in the days ahead when we begin to roll out this proposal.
“It is my desire to work toward changing the general view that the prisons are dumping ground for society’s rejects, prisons are no longer a place for punishment.
“The philosophy of imprisonment currently is that offenders be guided through the process of reconciliation with the greater society,” he said.
Okoro thanked the Lafia Emirate Council for its support and the encouragement that prisons service had been enjoyed in the emirate adding that he looked forward to sustaining the relationship.
On his part, the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage, while thanking the prisons service for the visit, assured the new controller of support and cooperation to enable him to carry out his duties in the state.
The Paramount ruler called on judges to always give tenable bailing conditions for people that committed minor offences as one of the ways of decongesting prisons.
“Prolonged incarceration of young people for minor offences that are bailable do not amount to problem solving.
“Courts should avail themselves of provision of penal code and place them on suspended sentence,” he said.
The monarch called on the government to work toward addressing unemployment among the youth which he considered as the major factor for the rise of crime in society.