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1.1 Background to the Study
In recent years, more emphasis has been placed on designing comprehensive interventions, based on a continuity of care, to provide consistent assistance to offenders within and beyond prison. There is a recognition that preparation for reintegration should commence before the offenders’ release. After their release, interventions should support their immediate transition from the prison to the community and reinforce the gains achieved through in prison treatment and continue until a successful reintegration is completed (Fox, 2002). This approach is often referred to as “after-care”, a system wide mode of intervention (Borzycki & Makkai, 2007).
All interventions, regardless of their method, are best delivered as part of an integrated program designed to address an individual offender’s specific issues and challenges. Renewed attention has been given to “strength-based” approaches to make use of personal and community assets in order to help released offenders face their challenges and successfully reintegrate into the community, including the workplace (Maruna & LeBel, 2002). According to Harper and Chitty (2004), the primary criminogenic needs that must be addressed by institutional and community based treatment services are related to: education, employment, accommodation, drugs and alcohol, mental health, social networks, cognitive skills, and attitudes.
Offenders released from confinement encounter a myriad of challenges with respect to securing employment. This is accounted for by personal factors such as low self-esteem, low motivation, skills deficit, lack of training, mental illness, and substance abuse; a lack of stable accommodation; absence of family support and a poor employment record (Visher, Winterfield & Coggeshall, 2005; Rakis, 2005; Graffam, Shinkfield, Lavelle & McPherson, 2004). Most successful approach in reducing recidivism among offenders, both immediately upon release into the community and over the long term, is prison based and community-based intervention ( MacKenzie,1997). This intervention might be in terms of helping them to settle down and be engaged
For quite a while, debate has raged on how to treat individuals held in prisons or correctional facilities in Kenya the main question being, are the inmates only supposed to be punished or is it possible to engage them in rehabilitation programmes and other means to change them and make them law abiding and self reliant once released. (Kenya Prisons Services Strategic Plan -2005/2009 Government Prison Publication). At the very least, can the rehabilitation programmes administered to the prisoners prevent their return to a life of crime and eventually to prison? Kenya prison service has continued to offer inmates rehabilitation programmes and vocational education and training that would help them be reintegrated into the society and actively participate in positive socio-economic engagements upon release.
The skills gained enhance their chances of engaging in gainful employment and minimize their chances of returning to criminal activities. According to Ross and Richard (2009) the major focus of the Prison rehabilitation Programme In Britain and Wales, rehabilitation programmes for prisoners have become an integral part of prison life (Glaze and Palla, 2004). They serve as a control mechanism and some are normally contracted out to organizations such as the Staff College, universities and private training schools. The programmes range from literacy programmes; Post graduates studies ranging in age from 15 to over 65 years main focus being social and life skills. Despite the effort however, the number of those re-offending and going back to prison is significantly high. In Canada, all federal correctional and institutions offer rehabilitation programmes which range from Adult Basic Education (Grades 1 to 10), secondary Education (Grades 11 to 12).
1.2 Statement of Problem
According to Harper and Chitty (2004), the primary criminogenic needs that must be addressed by institutional and community based treatment services are related to: education, employment, accommodation, drugs and alcohol, mental health, social networks, cognitive skills, and attitudes. Offenders released from confinement encounter a myriad of challenges with respect to securing employment. This is accounted for by personal factors such as low self-esteem, low motivation, skills deficit, lack of training, mental illness, and substance abuse; a lack of stable accommodation; absence of family support and a poor employment record (Visher, Winterfield & Coggeshall, 2005; Rakis, 2005; Graffam, Shinkfield, Lavelle & McPherson, 2004).
Most successful approach in reducing recidivism among offenders, both immediately upon release into the community and over the long term, is prison based and community-based intervention ( MacKenzie,1997).
This intervention might be in terms of helping them to settle down and be engaged in something productive and beneficial to the general populace. This idea was supported by Visher, et al.(2005), that obtaining legal employment is one of the best predictors of the post-release success of ex-prisoners. More importantly, offenders have identified employment as a key factor in postrelease success (Burke, 1997). According to Graffam, Shinkfield, Lavelle, and McPherson (2004), Employment provides more than the income necessary to support adequate material conditions. It also provides structure and routine, while filling time. It provides opportunities to expand one’s social network to include other productive members of society. In addition to all this, employment can contribute to enhanced self-esteem and other psychological health.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the after-care service and re-integration of ex-convicts in Nigeria.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The study aimed at achieving the following objectives: -
1. To investigate the extent to which formal education programmes offered in Prison impact on the self-sustainability of the ex-convicts in Nigeria.
2. To assess how the Vocational training offered in Prison impact on the self-sustainability of the ex-convicts in Nigeria.
3. To explore the extent to which the attitude of the inmates towards the programmes offered in prison impact on the self-sustainability of ex-convicts in Nigeria.
4. To assess how the prison environment impacts on self-sustainability of ex-convicts in Nigeria.
5. To establish the extent to which the aftercare support impacts on ex-convicts’ self-sustainability in Nigeria.
1.5 Research Questions
The study aimed at answering the following questions: -
1. To what extent do the formal education programmes offered in prison impact on the self-sustainability of ex- convicts in Nigeria ?
2. How does vocational training offered in prison impact on the self-sustainability of the prison ex-convicts in Nigeria?
3. To what extend does inmates’ attitude towards programmes offered in prison impact on the self-sustainability of ex-convicts?
4. To what extent does the prison environment impact on the self-sustainability of ex-convicts?
5. To what extend does the aftercare support impact on the self-sustainability of ex-convicts?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The prison service core mandate is to rehabilitate those sentenced to serve in their institutions and offer programmes projected to prepare them to competently handle life upon release and be useful not only to self and others but also to the state by contributing in nation building. It is hoped that the information obtained through the study may help in coming up with an education policy for convicts and also create rehabilitation programmes relevant to the needs of individual convicts. The already existing programmes it is hoped may be looked afresh and the necessary remedial measures taken to make them more beneficial to the prison convicts. The findings it is also hoped can inform potential employees on the particular areas of competencies the exprisoners posses and make it easy for them to make the right choice if they choose to employ them. The community has the opportunity through the study to understand the ex-inmates, accept them back and assist them settle down and even offer them support and jobs.
1.7 Operational definition of significant terms
Aftercare support- any assistance given materially, referral or otherwise to those who have served and completed jail terms.
Ex-convict – a person male or female who has been convicted in a court of law and has fully served a jail term in prison.
Incarceration – the state remaining in detention in prison to serve a sentence.
Recidivism – the act of committing an offence again after release from prison after having served another offence.
Rehabilitation programmes – various programmes offered in prison by prison service to serving convicts to help them transform.
Reoffending – the act of committing a repeat offence after release from prison to serve an offence.
Self sustainability – the state of being able to provide livelihood to self and dependants and through self employment, getting a job or even furthering education.
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