Prisons Decongestion: Why Sentencing Guidelines Need Review – Presidential Committee

The Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reforms and Decongestion (PCCSRD) has explained why the Federal Capital Territory Courts Sentencing Guidelines need review.
The Secretary of the committee, Mrs. Leticia Ayoola-Daniels, at a technical session in Abuja, yesterday with relevant stakeholders in the justice sector to validate the draft FCT sentencing guidelines and practice direction 2020, said the 2016 practice direction did not make adequate provision for non-custodial measures.
According to her, the 2016 guidelines need a review to ensure fairness, consistency and uniformity in imposition of both custodial and non-cuatodial sentencing.
The Secretary said, ”The existing Federal Capital Territory Courts (Sentencing Guidelines) Practice Direction, 2016 did not make adequate provision for non – custodial measures and requires immediate review to address existing gaps, relating to non-custodial sentencing and to ensure fairness, consistency and uniformity in imposition of both custodial and non-custodial sentences”.
She also said the technical session will collate and validate all contributions made to the draft and produce a comprehensive draft that will be signed off by the Chief Judge FCT.
Justice Bello sets up the technical committee headed by Justice C. Orji, also of the FCT High Court.
The committee secretary expressed gratitude for the commitment and dedication of members of the Judiciary, and the United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),
for their consistent support towards the success of the Justice Sector Reform programmes of the Federal Ministry of Justice
”May I also express my deep appreciation to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice for their ardent support and our development partner the United Nations Human Rights office of the High Commissioner ‘for their support as well”, she said.
The Technical Committee set up by the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, who is also the Chairman of the committee is made up of Judges, Magistrates , Mr. P. C Okorie, the Consultant and representatives from the ministry of justice and two members of the Presidential Committee.
Two days ago, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, had said the proposed consolidated sentencing guidelines will
ensure that congestion in prisons in Nigeria is reduced to the barest minimum through the use of non-custodial sentences.
The AGF said this is in line with section 470(2)(c) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA’, 2015 and section 2(1)(b) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
Malami, who spoke at the Virtual
Interactive session of the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion with stakeholders to review the federal Capital Territory Courts Sentencing Guidelines and Practice Direction 2020 said the guideline is geared towards implementing one of the major recommendations of the National Workshop on the Effective Implementation of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
According to him, some of the objectives of the proposed guidelines is to set out the appropriate standards and guideline for the sentencing process in offences against the state, person, public order, morality, homicide, property and corruption related offences, for the purpose of ensuring reasonable uniformity and fairness in sentencing in the Federal Capital Territory;
He also said the the new guideline is to set out the requirements and procedure for imposing custodial and non-custodial sentences for the purpose of preventing abuse and ensuring reasonable uniformity and fairness in the imposition of sentences.

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