From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

A Non-Governmental Organization,( NGO), Legend Golden Care Foundation (LGCF) has called for alternative sentencing options, as part of efforts, to decongest custodial centres across the country.

The group also called for effective documentation and monitoring so as to reduce the number of non-violent offenders in custodial centres nationwide.

The LGCF, in a statement by its Executive Director, Mrs. Kanayo Olisa-Metuh lauded the House of Representatives over recent moves to decongest as well as overhaul the 244 Custodial Centers across the country.

Olisa-Metuh noted that initiative by the lawmakers is consistent with the Foundation’s “unrelenting campaigns and advocacy for prison decongestion through reforms including adoption of non-custodial and alternative sentencing option, especially on minor cases.”

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According to her, “our Foundation notes the fact that the leadership and members of the House unanimously endorsed the motion sponsored by Chairman House Committee on Reformatory Institutions, Hon. Chinedu Ogah, who has relentlessly partnered with our organization in conveying the support of the House of Representatives in all our advocacies and campaigns.

“We are pleased that the House of Representatives is taking these proactive steps towards addressing the issue of prison congestion and our Foundation is highly encouraged by the recommendations put forward during the session. We urge the House of Representatives to take further steps to ensure the implementation of its recommendations by relevant government agencies.

“Further to that, our Foundation emphasizes on the need for increased funding in legal aid programs to ensure that all accused have access to quality legal representation. We also recommend the implementation of alternative sentencing options as well as effective documentation and monitoring so as to reduce the number of non-violent offenders in correctional centers”.

Furthermore, she said “we earnestly urge the government to prioritize investment in comprehensive rehabilitation and reentry programs. The absence of adequate resources in this area not only hampers the successful reintegration of individuals into society upon release from prison but also significantly increases the risk of recidivism”.