Establishment of Libraries in Prisons and Schools
Nigerian prisons lack libraries and educational opportunities for inmates. Educational programs are an intervention proven to reduce recidivism and improve successful reintegration after incarceration. As a consequence of poor or lack of educational opportunities in prisons, Nigeria suffers from high re-offending behaviour
Books Behind Bars aims to address the problem of recidivism by introducing education during incarceration, breaking the cycle of re-offending behavior and improving the chances of formerly incarcerated persons, particularly, juveniles, to live productive lives and contribute to society.
In Nigeria, high recidivism rates are the legacy of prisons without adequate educational opportunities and rehabilitative programming. Research conducted by Abrifor et al, (2010), examined data collected from five Nigerian prisons and looked at the recidivism rates across different demographic categories. Their findings estimated a 52.4% recidivism rate in 2010, with the young, male offenders (ages 26-35) being the highest recidivists. This high re-offending rate has harmful effects on communities both socially and economically. Socially, the safety and security of citizens is threatened. Safety concerns trickle into international business contracts, making Nigeria undesirable for foreign business and tourism. Economically, foreign aid and investment money is being diverted to safer countries, leaving less available to bolster domestic development (Abrifor 2010).
Books Behind Bars targets recidivism preventatively by providing educational opportunities to individuals during incarceration. Education is a proven method of reducing reoffending behavior by equipping inmates with knowledge and skills that assist them with reintegration into their communities and gaining employment, or creating self-employment, preventing future criminal tendencies.
The lack of adequate educational opportunities in Nigerian prisons is a social justice issue of national and international concern. Prisons serve as the facilities that intervene after a crime has been committed and reparations for that crime need to be made before the individual can reintegrate back into their society. This process becomes a social justice issue when prisoners are not given opportunities for educational advancement or marketable skills training, and they are released from prison more disadvantaged than they were entering. Their sentence, in this respect, continues to be served even after their release. Nigeria has the opportunity to provide skills training, education and literacy programs that create pathways for rehabilitation.
- To improve the educational and mental developments of prison inmates in five prisons in Nigeria
- To improve the learning and performance in examinations for inmates who are taking University courses through the National Open University.
- To provide both instructional and recreational books to enhance rehabilitation of inmates in five prisons in Nigeria
- Better performance in examinations by prison inmates and students
- Increased number of prisoners who will get admissions into tertiary institutions
- Reduced incidences of jail breaks
- Improvement in criminal justice and prison administration in Nigeria
- improved literacy among prisoners
- Resultant low rates of recidivism and reoffending, as the chances of successful rehabilitation will increase.
- Improvement in reading culture in schools
Progress made to date
- We have been able to ship more than 20,000 donated books from the United States of America, cleared from the Seaport and have brought it to Abuja.
- We have also bought some syllabus-based textbooks for Secondary schools.
- We have made books shelves for and donated books to the Juvenile Boarstal Institution in Kaduna
- We have donated text books to L.E.A Nurudeen primary school in Karu, and Model Primary school Kubwa in Abuja, the Loyola Academy in Port Harcourt have also received donation of books from us for their library.
- We have conducted a needs assessment of Kuje and Enugu prisons libraries.
- We have donated books to the Medium Security Prison, Makurdi
- The Prison Headquarters received a truck load of books donated to the prisons for distribution to the following prisons;
There are still many more books with the NPS headquarters to be distributed to other prisons in the coming days.
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) department of the United States Embassy in Abuja, in partnership with CURE-Nigeria, donated education materials worth over $10,000 to all the prisons in Benue State. The donation was done on the 17th of May, 2017.
Below are some pictures of the donation ceremony: