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PROJECT TOPIC- Roles of Nigerian Prison Institution on Crime Control; A Study of Awka Prison System, Anambra State

PROJECT TOPIC- Roles of Nigerian Prison Institution on Crime Control; A Study of Awka Prison System, Anambra State


This research titled the “Roles of Nigerian prison institution on crime control, taking Awka prison as a case study” was aimed at ascertaining the notion of crime, to examine the nature and state of Nigerian prisons and to examine the general experiences and problems faced by inmates in Nigerian prisons. The research adopted survey research design; data were collected and analyzed through questionnaires. Based on the analysis it was revealed that since the establishment of Awka prison in Anambra state, it is observed that the majority of those in prison are males, while the minority are females. It is also observed that majority of those in prison are single. Also, the majority of the respondents confirmed that crime is an offence which breaks prohibited rules/laws and requires intervention of public authority. Crime is also seen as a violation of rules agreed to be respected by all members of the society; mete sanctions upon those guilty of the violation. It was also argued further that lower class crime is a function of miserable life condition and conflict with the interest of the dominant class.




  • Background to the Study

One of the most critical questions that have faced criminal justice system of our nation was what to do with those who break the law? Imprisonment was the answer and solution that seemed so right. Incarceration as a form of punishment for law breakers is not alien to modern Nigerian society. It has been a form of practice even before the emergence of colonial rule in Nigeria.

According to Okunola et al (2002), in the northern Nigeria, a traditional legal system including prison was already in place before the British imperialism. Equally, in south western Nigeria, as well as other parts of the country, prison was part of political and legal system before and during colonialism. What only altered was the modification in its administration and functions. The prison system is one of the agents of criminal justice system and perhaps the last stage of criminal justice system in Nigeria.

According to Rotman (1970), the prison is regarded as a place where the undesirable elements, the wrong doer’s of the society are kept, and it is primarily charged with the responsibility of incarcerating and reforming the offenders in the society. Historically, the use of punishment for wrong doing is as old as society itself. In about 2000BC, Moses in the Holy Bible spoke of “an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth” (Exodus, 24:24) meaning that one suffers in the same way as the harm done to another person.

According to Betel (1823), punishment is an imposition of some negative or unpleasant action on a person in response to behaviour deemed wrong by an individual or group with the purpose of retribution and deferring others from engaging in such behaviour. Durkheim (1938) contended that crime is inevitable in the society but punishment works not to remove crime but to heal the wound done to the collective sentiments.

Thus, without punishment, the collective sentiments would lose their power to control behaviours and the crime rate would reach the point where it becomes abnormal in the society. According to him, prison is one form of punishment which he describes as a place in which law breakers are confined and are usually deprived of a range of personal freedom and rights. The development of modern prison system in Nigeria in the year 1892, when the British colonialists established a prison at Broad Street in Lagos for the purpose of incarcerating the civil offenders and people opposing the colonialists.

Following the annexation, a duplication of the British penal system was introduced by 1872, Broad Street prison had swung into operation and the relevant prisons as ordinal was signed four years later (Wilcox, 1940). As the British extended the frontiers of the colony, so did they expand prison services. Consequently, by 1901 the impact of the Calabar, Asaba, Benin City, Sapele and Dagema, were runed by the police department until 1920 (Julius, 1984).

In 1914, when the British administrators amalgamated the northern and southern protectorates, the prison ordinates of 1916 and the prison regulators of 1917 were enabled and it aimed at restructuring the emerging prison administration. However, it should be noted that thus; In the north, the prison or the penal system was different as native authorities operated prisons on local levels under the routine inspection of Chief or “YAN” as called in Hausa (Kent, 1958).

In the year 1966, attempts were made to unify the country’s prison and this prompted the federal military government to constitute the Gobir panels on prison system. In its report, the panel recommended the merger of the two separate prison system, which was affected on April 3, 1968. (Shagaya, 1960).To make it work, specialists were invited from overseas to reorganize the prison system, and they submitted their reports that culminated in the promulgation of decree No. 9 of 1972 constitution.

The specialists recommended interalia, the setting up of a social welfare section in the prison services so as to successfully rehabilitate and reform the offenders in line with the United Nations minimum prison standard. Presently, the penal system has come a very long way, there are today about 147 prisons, 236 lockups, 11 mechanized farms, 1 Borstal institution, 2 training centre at kirikiri and prison staff college at Kukari, in Kaduna state.

Nevertheless, the society at large expects the prison to perform a number of functions, which are seen as their responsibility, and its purpose of establishment and their function are in consonance with the degree that guides the operation of the prison system.

PROJECT TOPIC- Roles of Nigerian Prison Institution on Crime Control; A Study of Awka Prison System, Anambra State

  • Statement of the Problem

The unsavory nature of Nigerian’s prison leaves one in doubt, with too many questions and fewer answers, being that majority of persons become hardened and daring than when they never went behind bars and commit more heinous crimes. Officers and men of Nigerian prisons epitomize corruption and have no will to discharge their duties and responsibilities- certainly not satisfied with their conditions of service.

Interestingly, prison still remains indispensable in correcting, reforming and rehabilitating perceived convicts in Nigeria. It is worrisome that recommendations and suggestions made to government for prison reforms are yet to be implemented. This study therefore, is to know the rolesof Nigerian prison institution on crime control and to address this question; why can’t Nigerian prisons reform an inmate to the extent that his or her welfare is appreciable?

  • Research Questions

The following questions will guide this study:

  • What are the shortcomings of the Nigerian prison constitution in Awka?
  • What are the factors responsible for the identified shortcomings of rehabilitation, correction and reformation is Awka prison?
  • Why can’t Nigerian prisons reform an inmate to the extent that their welfare becomes appreciable?
    • Objectives of the Study

          The general objective of this research is to basically examine the roles of Nigerian prison institution on crime control, taking Awka prison as a case study. Other objectives among other things include:

  • To ascertain the notion of crime.
  • To examine the nature and state of Nigerian prisons.
  • To examine the general experiences and problems faced by inmates in Nigerian prisons.
    • Significance of the Study
  • Practical Significance: The findings of this study will be of immense benefit to prison administrators and bodies like non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), Amnesty International, Human rights activists.
  • Theoretical Significance: It will help the government of Nigeria to plan, given that, the problems faced by inmates are exposed to that extent prison administrators will find better ways of reformatory process to avoid recidivism.
    • Scope ofthe Study

Thisstudy will be carried out to examine the effect of Nigerian prison constitution in crime control. Basically, the researcher limited his study to Awka prison which is located at No4 Enukora/Emma Nnaemeka Street, Awka, in Awka-South Local Government Area of Anambra State. The study will look at the effects of Nigerian prison institution on crime control with a view to finding out solutions to those problems.

1.7 Hypotheses of the Study

          For the purpose of this study, we have one alternate hypothesis and one null hypothesis.

H1: There is a significant relationship between prison institution and crime control.

H0: There is no significant relationship between prison institution and crime control.

  • Operationalization of Terms

Prison: This is an institution where offenders or criminals whom are convicted are reprimanded or kept on detention for a period specified by the law court of the state.

Crime: This is an act harmful not only to some individuals but also to a     community, society or the state.

Incarceration: This is known as to be jailed, imprisoned, confined or convicted.

Punishment: This is the authoritative imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, in responses to a particular action/behavior that is deemed unacceptable or threatening to some norm.

Rehabilitation: This is the restoration of a person or a criminal back to a normal and useful life. These can be done through therapy or education, treatment or training.

Correction:This is a process of correcting an individual; it is carried out by government agencies, involving the punishment, treatment and supervision of person who had been convicted of crimes.

Sentences: This is a punishment imposed by a law court on an individual who commits a crime.

PROJECT TOPIC- Roles of Nigerian Prison Institution on Crime Control; A Study of Awka Prison System, Anambra State

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