Number of unsound minded prisoners on the increase in Delta—Controller

The Controller of Prisons in Delta  State, Mr Sam Iyakoregha,  has decried the rising number of persons with unsound minds in prisons in the state.

The prison boss was speaking at a meeting of stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice in Asaba, said  it calls for serious attention.

According to him, there are 3,320 inmates in the five prisons in the state.

He gave the breakdown of awaiting trial and condemned prisoners as follows:  Warri 1,289, Ogwashi-Uku 831, Sapele 345, Agbor 341 and Kwale 314.

Iyakoregha, however, commended the state governor and the chief judge of the state  for the steps taken in their respective official capacities to prune down the number of those awaiting trial.

Earlier, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Marshal Umukoro, advised the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to educate their members to exercise caution while recommending sureties for purpose of granting bail to accused persons.

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The chief judge stated that the warning became imperative due to the disturbing development whereby sureties, who took suspects on bail on the recommendation of legal practitioners elope when suspects jump bail.

Justice Umukoro, who organised the meeting to appraise the strength and challenges of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL), 2017, noted that lawyers should only recommend sureties of good standing.

While commending the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, for approving fund for the refurbishment of utility vehicles of prisons in the state, the Chief Judge disclosed that from November this year, witnesses would begin to receive witness allowance as provided by the law.

Stakeholders, however, appealed to the Ministry of Justice to  render legal opinion expeditiously to further reduce the number of inmates.

They also called for the review of Section 15 (4) of the ACJL to include a lawyer and justice of peace who will be present during video recordings of confessional statements of suspects by the police.

The meeting was attended by chairmen of branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in Asaba, Agbor, Sapele, Ogwashi-Uku, Effurun Ughelli; representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Prisons Reform Initiative, Legal Aid Council, Police, Department of State Security Service.

Nigerian Tribune

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