For over eight years now we have worked with inmates starting with Otukpo Custodian Centre.Today, we are in Igah Custodian Centre, Gboko Custodian Centre, Medium Security Custodian Centre Kaduna and Medium Security Custodian Centre Kiri Kiri Lagos. Our focus is to work and establish firmly our work in about 20-30 prisons in Nigeria that will in turn serve as a template for other organizations working in the correctional space.
We have a progressive educational program that runs in three stages:
1. Prevocational (Rethinking process to engender in our students superior self-esteem and noble dreams).
2. Vocational (Practical learning of life skills, entrepreneurship).
3. Re-entry (Effective Social Reintegration).
After all three are executed, we also carry out aftercare service (ACS) for ex-cons.
Pre-vocational/Rethink: One of the major causes of crime among youth is low self-esteem. Rethink is a journey into oneself. Students/inmates are coached and helped to look inwards and discover their innate potentials and possible profits thereof, and to direct their passion towards developing it. This “mind renewal” process is achieved through motivational talks, debates on topical issues among inmates, team work, public speaking, movie shows, leadership, counselling and feedback sessions. Our aim in the pre-vocational stage is to help inmates rethink and reinvent themselves to see beyond criminal behaviour, develop into a personality of worth and contribute to nation building.
- Vocational/Reform: The National Bureau of Statistics puts the youth unemployment rate as of 2014 at over 25 percent(March 25, 2014).
At least 25 million of Nigeria's 100 million young people are unemployed. The current unemployment rate in Nigeria leaves youth vulnerable to all kinds of social vices, not the least of which is criminal behaviour, and the end result is prison.
Our aim is to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit through learning social and life skills in prison. By so doing, we empower students with skills that will require little start-up capital upon release. Our life skill trainings include among others-
- Making of cufflinks
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Paint Production
Re-entry /Re-integration: The peculiar set of psychological changes that prisoners are forced to undergo in order to survive the prison experience takes a serious toll on their successful reintegration into society. The tendency to relapse into crime is on the increase among ex-convicts. This is largely due to the post-traumatic stress caused by imprisonment. During the re-entry/re-integration stage, we arm inmates with the skills needed to rise above the societal stigma that often greets them upon release.
As a way of decongesting the prisons, our organisation, with the support of our partners, also facilitates payment of convicts’ fines, which leads to their release from prison. So far, we have paid the fine of 51 inmates and they have all been set free.
Our aftercare service is a forum for mentoring and counselling ex-cons to help them effectively reintegrate into the society. This always takes place in our office and via telephone communication. By both means, we encourage most of our students to be positively engaged.
Recidivism and repeat crimes are always high among ex-cons. This is so because very often, notwithstanding that there are some ex-cons who are warmly welcome and received by their families, most ex-cons don’t have a place to go to after prison.
Through this program, we have helped a number of our students to learn a trade in farming and/or fashion designing, and today, they are doing well.