International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

The Upsurge of Recidivism and the Penitentiary Institutions in Nigeria
Dr. (Mrs.) May Omogho Esiri

Penitentiaries are established in Nigeria and in fact in all parts of the world with the major aim of providing reformation, rehabilitation, and correctional facilities for those who have violated the law of the land and have been convicted and sentenced. The current attitude in penal circles is to see improvement from the perspective of reform and rehabilitation rather than from the perspective of punishment of offenders. It is assumed that those who have committed crime need help, and should be assisted to lead a good life. That is, they should be reformed. Hence, the term “correction” is applied to reflect this thinking (Ostreicher, 2003). However, studies (Bohn and Haley, 1999, Adler et al 1996) have revealed that inmates commit crime when still in prison or return to crime after release from prison. This phenomenon is known as recidivism and it is on the increase. In other words, correctional and rehabilitative institutions are increasing the risk of subsequent or habitual criminal behaviour, rather than deterring or reforming offenders. The implication of this is that these institutions are counterproductive and are failed institutions. This paper attempts to reveal the state of penitentiaries in Nigeria as well as identify major causes of recidivism in Nigeria. It is intended to urgently direct government’s attention to the problem of recidivism and its increase as well as to contribute to improvements and reform of Nigeria’s prison and rehabilitation centers.

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