Restorative justice and non-custodial measures: Panacea to recidivism and prison congestion in Nigeria
A functional justice system is a pointer to economic growth, development and stability. A system which is characterized by problems ranging from but not limited to abuse of court processes, bureaucracy, lack of funds for the judiciary and the police, delay in trial, non-reformation of correctional institutions, congestion of prisons, and recidivism will be abhorrent to social justice, foreign investment and human rights principles, thereby, affecting the economic, infrastructural and human development of the state. The criminal justice system comprising of the police, the judiciary and the correctional agencies provides solutions to these problems and patterns the direction of crime policy in a state. This paper posits that the Nigerian state should provide the necessary framework to complement the traditional utilitarian system of punishment, ‘imprisonment’, and pursue a more victim /offender engagement for prevention of crime, guarantee non-custodial treatment for crime offenders, and consequently forestall recidivism and decongest the prisons.
Key words: Restorative justice, Non-custodial measures, Prison congestion, Courts, Recidivism