…Solicits support from well-meaning Nigerians
A serving corps member in Ekiti State, Anuoluwa Elizabeth Balogun, has proposed a rehabilitation scheme and social reformation services for ex-convicts across Nigeria.
Anuoluwa said that the idea was nursed as a result of the derrogatory remarks and bondage-in-freedom atmosphere ex-convicts receive, after their stay in the correctional centre.
She also added that when the ex-convicts have regained their freedom, they find themselves in a helpless situation which in-turn makes them almost useless for themselves and the society again.
The corps member stated further that, whether they were guilty of the offence or not, the criteria for their freedom must have been that, they had learnt from the situation and therefore must have had an improved mindset to live life better.
Additionally, she advocated for a reintegration plan that would make their existence meaningful and impactful to the society.
Anuoluwa said, “Prisons which have been renamed correctional centres are with the sole aim to correct the deeds of people who have been found guilty for an offence.
“However, it is dishearthening how people who know nothing about a crime are still seized of their freedom by getting imprisoned for a particular time based on what crime they are being attached with.
“On the opposite, when freed, they are relegated to the background and are almost given no chance at life going forward, which leads to failed relationships, homelessness, substance misuse, recividism and suicide.
“According to the National Institute of Justice, 80% of ex-convicts will be rearrested within five years of their release because there are no reintegration plans for them. Also, once they are released, they are not released from the stigma from the society.
“The journey even becomes tougher than It was before they got in, through the hands of stigma, discrimination, isolation, and instability.
“This is why I am proposing to have an NGO called ‘The Eagle Movement’ that would cater for character reformation, rehabilitation, empowerment, and job enhancement for ex-convicts. I will be having legal practitioners, counsellors, educators, vocational trainers, and entrepreneurs, work with me to achieve this.
“This way, they can have a chance at life again and become instrumental, thereby serving also a correctional tool to the society.
“Of course, the aim is not to encourage more people to go into crime but to help crime reduce by showing them ways they can be useful to the society again, because they are not a dead end.
“In this regard, I am calling for support from individuals, government sectors, private establishments, and philanthropists, to sponsor and partner with me on this journey as I start a new life for ex-convicts and give them a new name”.