Edafe Ulo


The Nigeria prison service and by extension the prisons system, represent traditional criminal justice system of punishment philosophy which places emphasis on merely to punish the offender rather than correction of the offender. The Nigeria prisons has been attributed with a lot of problems ranging from administrative  problems, poor financing, poor health care, infrastructural/recreational facilities, prison overcrowding, focus on punishment,  lack of rehabilitation, poor training and  retraining of prison staff, problem of human resource wastage,  too regimental on the inmates and lack of non-custodial services. These highlighted problems mar the aims and objectives of the prison in deterring and rehabilitating the offenders, thus negating the major excesses of imprisonment which are to reform, rehabilitate, and reintegrate the offender into the mainstream of society, thereby making them useful to themselves and the society in general upon release. The prisons lack of rehabilitation of inmates leads to high recidivism of inmates on release. These aforementioned problems triggered the federal government, the national house of assembly, stake holders of the criminal justice system, the United Nations and civil society organisations (international and national) to champion a course on prison reforms through a bill presented by Victor Ndoma-Egba, the former senator and current chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the National House of Assembly in January 2008. For the past 11 years this bill has been there, awaiting the presidential accent, not until 28th Aug, 2019 when the president signed the bill into law; thereby changing the name from “Nigeria Prison Service” to “Nigeria Correctional Service”, this invariably led to a change in structure and functions of the new service, as it included the non-custodial faculty, giving credence to rehabilitations of inmate. The non-custodial faculty includes in it, parole, probation and community services capturing international best practises. Against this background, this work seeks to discuss and examine the metamorphosis from the “Nigeria Prison Service” to “Nigeria Correctional Service”: its implications and way forward, and by extension seek to look at the origin of the Nigeria prison service, the problems of the Nigeria prison system, weave theoretical framework,  Further looking at the metamorphosis of the prison with regards to its implications, distinguishing features of the Nigeria Correctional Service Act of 2019, relevance of the Act, presenting a polemical criticism, concluding with recommendations on the way forward.


Metamorphosis, Nigeria Prison Service, Correctional Service, Implications, Prison

Full Text:



Adetula G. A., Adetula A., & Fatusin A. F. (2010). The prison subsystem culture: Its attitudinal effects on operatives,convicts and the free society. Ife Psychologia. 18(1):232-251.

Agbedo, O. & Agiobu-Kemmer, S. (2019, Septemper 7). Reforming Nigeria prisons beyond name change. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Agbola, B. (2019, August 16). 10 things to know about Nigeria’s new law on prisons. Premium Time. Retrieved from

Awolowo, O. (1985). Adventure in Power: My March Through Prison. Ibadan: Macmillian Publishers.

Azu, J. C. (2019, August 20). Major implications of Nigeria’s new Correctional Act. Daily Trust. Retrieved from

Correctional Service Act: cure or placebo? (2019, August 27). The Nations. Retrieved from

Emeka, E. E. (2011). Challenges and Reforms in the Nigerian Prisons System. J Soc Sci, 27(2): 95-109.

Iginovia, P. E., Okonofua, B. A. Omoyibo, K. U. & Osunde, O. O. (2002). Crime and Delinquency in Nigeria:Theories, Petterns and Trends. Nigeria: Kryne Monitor Books.

Jarma, J. H. (1996). Prisons and the Reformation of the Offenders in Issues in Crime Prevention and Control in Nigeria, J Soc Sci , Vol. 1.p. 196-197.

Kangiwa, G. A. (1986). The Political Economy of Crime in Sokoto Town. B.Sc Project, Unpublished. Sokoto: University of Sokoto.

Obioha E. E. (1995). Prison Culture in Nigeria; A Study of Life Within Agodi Prison Community, Ibadan. M.Sc Dissertation, Unpublished. Ibadan: Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.

Obioha, E. E. (2002). Punishment in Society. In: UC Isiugo-Abanihe, AN Isamah , O Adesina ‘Jimi (Eds.): Currents and Perspectives in Sociology. Lagos: Malthouse Press Limited, pp. 367-379.

Siegel, L. & Bartollas C. (2011). Corrections Today. USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Soyinka, W. (1972). The Man Died: Prison Notes. London: Penguin Books.

James, D. I. & Glaze, L. E. (2006). Mental Health Problems of Prisons and Jails Inmates. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report.

Voorhis, P. V., Braswell, M. & Lester, D. (2007). Correctional Counselling and Rehabilitation. (6th ed), Cincinnati: Anderson.

Robinson, G. (2008). "Late-Modern Rehabilitation: The Evolution of a Penal Strategy," Punishment and Society, 10: 429-445.

Ward, T. & Maruna, S. (2007). Rehabilitation: Beyond the Risk Principle. London: Routledge.

Lipsey, M. W. & Cullen, F. T. (2007). "The Effectiveness of Correctional Rehabilitation: A Review of Systematic Reviews," Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 3: 297-320.

`Annual Meeting of the American Law Institute’, (1962). Model Penal Code, adopted in 1962 and last updated in 1981.

Martinson, R. (1974). "What Works? Questions and Answers about Prison Reform," Public Interest, 35: 22-54.

The Nigeria Prison Service Act (1972). Retrieved from:

The Nigeria Correctional Service Act (2019). Retrieved from: z


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Edafe Ulo










ISSN (PRINT):    2682 - 6135

ISSN (ONLINE): 2682 - 6127





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.