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The philosophy of prison has changed from that which serves as punishment centre to that which emphasises on rehabilitating and reforming the offender with the aid of laid down programs that aim at helping in proper transformation. Despite this ideological background, it is surprising that the rate of recidivism over the years is on a steady increase. This study therefore sought to understand the Prevalence and Causes of recidivism in Kaduna and Zaria prisons. The objectives of this study are; examining the nature of the reformative and rehabilitative programs in Kaduna and Zaria prisons, examining the effectiveness of correctional facilities and programs in Kaduna and Zaria prisons, identifying the causes of recidivism in Kaduna and Zaria prisons, assessing the challenges faced by staff and inmates of Kaduna and Zaria prisons and finally proffering solutions that will help reduce the rate of recidivism. In order to achieve these stated objectives, Qualitative and Quantitative data were collected. Quantitative data were collected through questionnaire, while the qualitative data, through in-depth interviews. Eight in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants. A sample of 80 inmates was selected using purposive sampling technique. The quantitative data collected were analyzed using simple percentages and frequency while the qualitative data was transcribed and used in triangulation. Inspite of philosophical change in correction, the study found out that there is high rate of recidivism due to the following causes; poor infrastructures in Kaduna and Zaria prisons, inadequate and obsolete correctional measures in Kaduna and Zaria prisons, poverty, unemployment, peer group influence, low educational qualification, length of first sentence, Prisonization, lack of visits by loved ones, stigmatization, lack of proper reintegration exercise and finally, habitual criminality. Based on these findings, the following recommendations were made; The provision of modern and adequate correctional facilities in Nigerian prisons, The Nigerian Prison Service should liaise with businesses for employment opportunities, specifically for ex-offenders, Family members should be encouraged to become more involved in the reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration process, Public awareness of the impact of stigmatization on ex-offenders should be a program hosted regularly and finally, Adequate employment of competent prison staff should be done by the Federal Government.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
As long as there have been people, there has been crime. The history of crime is in many ways
the history of humanity. There is hardly any society which is without the problem of crime.
According to Durkheim (1897),as cited inSiddique (2004), a society composed of persons with
angelic qualities would not be free from violations of the norms of the society. Therefore, crime
is present in every society.
According to Tappan (1960),crime is an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law,
committed without defense or justification, and sanctioned by the law as felony or misdemeanor.
Similarly,Sutherland (1978), crime is a symptom of social disorganization. Therefore, crime can
be said to be an act which a particular group regards as sufficiently harmful to its fundamental
interests, to justify legal action to restrain the violator. Since concern about crime is not a recent
phenomenon, it is indeed of no surprise that enormous energy has been directedto the goal of
effective crime control.
Based on the inevitability of crime in the society, varieties of responses to crime like the family,
schools, organized religions, the media, the law and the criminal justice system are institutions of
social control. Various governments have put in place agencies whose mission is to identify and
apprehend criminal suspects, providing them with fair hearing on the charges brought against
them, and through the course of trials if found guilty as charged, furnishing them with fair and
effective correctional treatment. These processes itself is referred to as the Criminal Justice
According to Larry and Joseph (2008), Criminal Justice System can be defined as agencies put in
place by the government charged with enforcing the law, adjudicating crime, and correcting
criminal conduct. According toDambazau (2007),the Criminal Justice System is a legal entity,
the interrelationships of criminal justice elements comprising of the police, courts and the
The Nigerian police as an agent of the Criminal Justice System, are the biggest, most visible and
important sub-system of the Criminal Justice System. The police provide the entry point into the
criminal justice system either through crime reports from the public or its own discovery.
According to Dambazau (2007), the police organization is the main institution which provides
regular direct contact with the public, a situation that makes it unique among the other
component of the Criminal Justice System. The role of the police is unique in that, the decision
of the policeman on the street is as important as the existence of the Criminal Justice System.
According to Dambazau (2007), the policeman is the gatekeeper of the Criminal Justice System
as he decides who goes into the system, and his decision has wider implications from the other
system components. The police man lubricates the system through the process of arrest, which is
essentially their input into the Criminal Justice System.
In the administration of justice, the courts take over from where the police stop. According to
Igbo (1999), the court performs a vital function in the administration of criminal justice; they
interpret and enforce laws that have been enacted by the legislature for the maintenance of law
and order in the society. When a suspect has been found guilty of violating a particular criminal
law, the court decides whether to caution and discharge, impose a monetary fine or to sentence
the suspect to a term of imprisonment. However, whatever the court d
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