Journal article Open Access

Use of Noncustodial Measure and Independent Monitoring Body as Panacea to Awaiting-Trial Problems in Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Rebecca Ginikanwa Nnamani,; ILO, Kingsley Obumunaeme; Chukwuemeka Dominic Onyejegbu; Benjamin Okorie Ajah; Emeka M. Onwuama; Aloysius C. Obiwulu; Nzeakor, Ogochukwu Favour

The complexity of awaiting-trial problems in Nigeria particularly in Ebonyi State has been researched and documented by many scholars. One of the glaring outcomes of these problems is overstretching of prison facilities. This paper discusses how the use of ‘noncustodial measure and independent body’ will improve the Nigerian criminal justice system to attain substantial efficacy in dispensing justice. Using qualitative and quantitative research approaches, a sample of 1498 respondents comprising 623 awaiting-trial inmates, 617 police officers, 145 prison officers and 113 court staff was drawn from Ebonyi state. Multi-stage and purposive sampling techniques were used to reach the respondents. Questionnaire and in-depth interviews were instruments for data collection. The quantitative data were descriptively analyzed using percentages and charts while thematic method of analysis was employed in the qualitative data. We found that keeping accused persons in prison longer than necessary is traumatic to suspects and expensive to government.  This paper proposes the use of noncustodial measures in crime cases where keeping suspects in prisons would produce no fruitful impact. The paper also calls for the creation of an independent body that will be fundamental in monitoring the different criminal justice agencies and holding them accountable and ensuring that the goals of the system are achieved.

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