NCoS ddsributeed start-up packs to 645 ex-convicts, says official

By Ibironke Ariyo

The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has supported 645 ex-convicts  with start-up packs to resettle back into the society between 2021 and 2022.

The Service Public Relations Officer (SPRO) Assistant Controller of Corrections (ACC), Mr Abubakar Umar, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Umar said that the Controller General, NCoS, Mr Haliru Nababa gave inmates that have completed their jail terms some materials to help them settle in the society every year.

He said that ex-offenders who benefited were those that enrolled for different vocational trainings ranging from barbing, hair dressing, welding, plumbing, carpentry among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Aftercare is the package of support that needs to be in place by the  NCos after an offender finishes serving jail term, or completes a community sentence.

Umar said that aftercare materials was not one simple, discrete process involving not only treatment/supervision but included access to additional support for other issues.

This, he said in which may include mental health, housing, managing finance, family problems, learning new skills, employment among others.

The spokesman said that the only way the service could ease the reintegration of inmates to the society was by helping them settle after leaving the custodial centres.

This, he said was because some of them would have gone through various vocational trainings and skills while in custody.

“As part of the service’s core mandates of reformation, rehabilitation and re-integration of prisoners back to the society, it provides materials and tools to ex-offenders who have been trained in different skills and vocations while in prison custody.

“We believe that this gesture is the most potent means of crime prevention and control as well as a potent means of breaking the vicious circle of recidivism and prison congestion.

“The materials that are being distributed regularly transform the life of the ex-offenders and assist them to be functional citizen of Nigeria, “he said.

Umar said that the tools that the service had distributed comprised those of barbing, carpentry, fabrication/welding, hair dressing, tailoring and masonry among other vocations that the offenders were trained in custody.

He said that the service does not just give them these tools and stop there adding that they also monitor them from time to time in order to ascertain their progress.

According to him, in 2021, 119 inmates who were released from the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Billiri, Gombe state command were issued various aftercare materials comprising sewing machines, hair dressing equipment among others.

“In 2021 also, 286 ex-offenders were offered starter packs to set up businesses at the national headquarters, Abuja.

“In October, 2022, 153 ex-offenders in Bauchi got starter packs to further the vocational skills and be meaningfully and gainfully employed.

“In 2022, aftercare materials were symbolically given to eighty seven (87) ex-offenders to support their reintegration by the Controller General of Corrections, “he said.

Umar said that plans were ongoing for inmates that have finished their jail term and must have learnt a skill while in custody in the year 2023 saying that the exercise would be carried out by the second quarter. (NAN)