International best practices in custodial sentences and the Nigerian correctional service act 2019
This paper examines the Nigerian Correctional Service Act (NCS) 2019 which was enacted to salvage the ailing Nigerian Prisons System established under the repealed Prison Act, 2004. Highlighting key innovations under the Act, this paper discusses the extent of its compliance with international best practices codified in legal frame works such as: United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (The Mandela Rules), The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Female Offenders (The Bangkok Rules), United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures (The Tokyo Rules) and other human rights instruments. Comparing the Act with Kenya’s Prison Act and some legislation on non-custodial sentencing, it identifies areas of similarities and dissimilarities in both jurisdictions. Noting gaps in the NCS Act, this paper concludes and makes recommendations which includes: the need to revisit the Act to address gaps in section 12(8), address other form of sexual assault against female inmates, make provisions for searches in line with international best practices and more judicial activism in the application of non-custodial measures provided under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the NCS Act, 2019
Key Words: “Nigerian Correctional Services Act 2019”, “Custodial Centre”, “Non-Custodial Sentences”, “International Best Practices”.