[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) on Wednesday launched the Prison Data Management System Pilot Project at Kuje Prison.
“INL plans to support the Prison Service through the implementation of a pilot project to help address the high rate of pre-trial detention and severe prison overcrowding in one of Nigeria’s most important detention facilities, said INL Director Rosalyn Wiese
The INL has as partners the Rule of Law Advisory Team of the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee and the Nigeria Prison Service.
The project aims to increase the Nigerian Government’s capacity to maintain a safe, humane and transparent penal system and increase access to justice for all by enhancing efficiency, and accountability in justice sector institutions.
Wiese said the project has two components, first will be providing support to the new pre-trial detention case management system database that will create an electronic record for each inmate, generate data to assist the Nigeria Prison Service and the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee in tracking and managing cases in pre-trial status at Kuje Prison.
The second component is the development of a legal clinic project within the prison. “We plan to coordinate with the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria and the Ministry of Justice to provide legal aid services to all detainees awaiting trial at Kuje Prison to ensure efficient and competent review of their cases and scheduling of court hearings” she stated.
The plan is to digitize and upload records to the new case management system making it easier to identify and work on cases in priority order. This is part of the U.S. Government effort to assist the Nigerian government to meet international minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners, and decrease overcrowding and lengthy pre-trial detention which if successful could be extended to other prisons in Nigeria.