Examining The Trenching Of Custodial Centers Inviolable As A Strategy For Curbing Prison Break In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

Examining The Trenching Of Custodial Centers Inviolable As A Strategy For Curbing Prison Break In Nigeria

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of Study

Custodial centers or prisons in Nigeria are a major institution. Inmates locked within the prison walls are segregated from the outside world, kept under constant scrutiny and surveillance, and forced to obey a strict code of official rules to avoid facing formal sanctions and consequences (Okoli, A. C. & Lenshie, E. N. 2018). Many human functions are thoroughly curtailed โ€“ heterosexual activity, friendship, family relationships, society, education, and participation in groups become seriously restricted or to a higher level entirely cut-off (Senna and Siegel, 1981 cited in Okoli, A.C & Agada, A.T. 2014). It is an institution designed to warehouse people who have been convicted or suspected of crimes. These individuals, known as prisoners or inmates, are kept in a custodial centre on a short or long-term basis. For certain crimes, such as murder, offenders may be sentenced to life imprisonment (Okoli, et al 2014).

The Nigerian Custodial Service is charged with the core responsibility of promoting public protection by providing assistance for offenders in their reformation and rehabilitation under safe, secure and humane conditions, in accordance with universally accepted standards and to facilitate their social reintegration into society (Okoli, et al 2014). However, frequent prison breaks in Nigerian prisons have continued to occur. Hence, this trend poses a great research interest, since it is a security threat, not only to the prison authorities, but to national security in general. The issue of insecurity in Nigerian correctional centers is a fundamental crisis that gives both the government and the people cause for concern. According to Bagu, C., and Smith, K. (2017), the Nigeria Prison/Custodial Service managed approximately 240 prison facilities, including maximum security prisons, medium-term security prisons, satellite prisons, juvenile borstal institutions, farm centers, open prison camps, and female prisons.Some of which had, in recent years, witnessed the unofficial or illegal release of inmates from custody. In the last couple of years, according to Okoli, A.C. and Okpaleke, F.N. (2014a), not less than 30 cases of jail breaks have been recorded, instigated by both internal and external forces. While some were due to the negligence of security agents, others were due to conspiracy, security deficit in prisons, inadequate personnel, and lack of modern security gadgets. In response to this menace, the Federal Government developed a strategy which was focused on rendering the custodial (prison) centers inviolable by decreeing them (custodial centers) “RedZones” (Which implies shot at sight) to help eradicate the concurrent occurrence of prison breaks in the Nation. It is then an interesting exercise to try, through academic research, to unravel the reasons for the recent spate of jail breaks in Nigeria and to determine whether the government’s RedZone strategy is best suited to combating this scourge.

1.2 Statement Of Problem

There has been an unprecedented attack on Nigeria’s custodial centers which led to prison breaks and the escape of numerous prisoners and detained law offenders. The predictable entities behind this vexatious act include internal and external aggressors, corrupt custodial officers, thugs, hoodlums and even shirking of responsibilities by custodial officers and inadequate infrastructures. The detrimental effect of prison breaks and the escape of inmates to society and national security can not be overemphasized and demands drastic strategies. According to Sakari (2020), the act of prison break and other forms of attack on Nigeria’s correctional centers is a threat that, if not addressed immediately, will spawn other forms of precarious acts on Nigeria’s society. This troubling and perplexing development in Nigeria and government effort to address the issue sparked the focus of this research.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

This study is aimed towards examining the trenching of custodial centers inviolable as a strategy for curbing prison breaks in Nigeria. Specifically, it is set to;

  1. Identify the causes of prison breaks in Nigeria.
  2. Examine the extent to which the trenching of custodial centers inviolable as implemented by the Nigeria Government can reduce the number of prison breaks in Nigeria.
  3. Examine the effect of prison breaks on society.

1.4 Research Questions

This research is guided by the following questions:

  1. What are the causes of prison breaks in Nigeria?
  2. To what extent can the inviolability of custodial centers reduce prison breaks in Nigeria?
  3. What is the effect of prison breaks on society?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The study would greatly benefit the Nigerian prison service and, by extension, the governments at all levels, as it would reveal the effect of jail breaks on national security while highlighting the ways of curbing them. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

The study is specifically focused on identifying the causes of prison breaks in Nigeria, examining the extent to which the Nigeria Government’s trenching of custodial centers inviolable can reduce the act of prison breaks in Nigeria, and examining the effect of prison breaks on society. Hence, this study is delimited to the national custodial center in Bayelsa state.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

The major constrain of this study is the time factor, as the researcher had a small time frame to carry out this study. More so, financial constrains and the attitude of the respondents were also major key factors that limited this study.

1.8 Definitions Of Terms

National Security:

National security or national defence is the security and defence of a nation state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government.

Custodial Center:

A place where lawbreakers are forced to live after their freedom has been revoked. Reformation and rehabilitation of victims also takes place there.


This is the act of taking aggressive action against (a place or enemy forces) with weapons or armed force.

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