Prison Fellowship Signs Pact With Lagos State On Restorative Justice | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Prison Fellowship Signs Pact With Lagos State On Restorative Justice

Posted: Mar 19, 2016 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chinyere Abaziem, Lagos
In line with its vision of properly rehabilitating prisoners in Lagos State, a group, Prison Fellowship Nigeria (PFN) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lagos State Ministry of Justice to allow the group to unveil a pilot programme of a new correction system, Restorative Justice.
Explaining the aim of the new system, Benson Ngoziwu Agwu, the Executive Director of the group, who said this on Friday at a Media/Dinner held in Ikeja, noted that the aim was not to allow prisoners go free but to expose them to the level of hurts they cause the victims and the society.
“The problems of overcrowding and inhuman condition in our prisons will lesson. And the issues of long awaiting trial will be erased.  We believe these problems can be addressed by a re-evaluation and re-examination of our criminal justice system, in lieu to that, PFN has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to do a-five year pilot programme of restorative justice.
“Restorative justice implies that crime will not just be seen as an offence against the state. It will be seen as an infraction of personal right and liberty. In other words crime is committing harm against somebody, so the remedy is to try and heal the hurt, reconcile the relationship. In normal criminal case, you will see, the state versus Ojo but in restorative justice the parties are tripartite; the offender, the victim and the society.
“This is consistence with our formal African justice. It is still practice in some community. For us it is a major plan to decongest the prisons, healing the hurt and make the offender take responsibility for the things he has done. Once they take responsibility, the chances are that they will never go back to the crime then the victim will be happy that justice has been done,” he said.
Also present at the Dinner was the president of the internal body, Prison Fellowship International (PFI) Frank Lofaro, who mentioned some of his concerns to Independent on Saturday. He said that some of the hiccups the programme might have were; impatience and accessibility.