Some Kaduna based lawyers have called on the Kaduna State Government to boost entrepreneurship training for inmates to reduce their chances of going back to the life of crime.
They spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews on Wednesday, stressing that self-employment was an effective pathway for the rehabilitation of inmates and reducing crime in the society.
According to them, the entrepreneurship programmes are invaluable because they would not only benefit inmates but also the communities they return to.
Mr. Dauda Hassan, a lawyer, said entrepreneurship programmes would provide inmates with business skills to have productive and fulfilling lives after their release.
He said inmates needed a second chance and the best way was through rehabilitation and providing them with useful life-long skills to be self-reliant.
Hassan noted that some of the inmates have been locked up for a long time and have no idea how things have changed.
The lawyer said such inmates require intensive skills training while in correctional centers, to enable them fend for themselves when released.
“Entrepreneurship program will help inmates start new lives by providing them with information they need in order to become productive in the society.
“For entrepreneurship program for inmates to be a success, governments should provide the support and mentoring needed at all stages of their development,” he added.
He further said unleashing the entrepreneurial drive innate in many offenders will require more than just a little advice and education before leaving them on their own.
Hassan called on the state government to give them the needed support, as it will take them away from crime and give them a fresh start in life.
Another lawyer, Kingsley James said entrepreneurship training will provide convicts with professional skills necessary to make them succeed and open up unlimited possibilities for them to positively contribute to their communities.
According to James, entrepreneurship training will also enable convicts to pursue the opportunities best suited to their abilities, attributes and interests.
“One of the primary factors influencing recidivism or the return to correctional center is the inability to find a job, but with entrepreneurship program, inmates can have a legitimate means of livelihood.
“People can change and make big differences in the success of their futures; many of them believe they are not qualified for anything, but with the programme, they will change for the better” he said.
James urges the state government to enroll inmates into entrepreneurship programmes while in correctional facilities in order for them to learn useful trade skills.
Another lawyer, Glory Pascal, said entrepreneurship program in correctional facilities could change inmates’ attitude not just towards entrepreneurship but also towards important aspects of life that go far beyond what was taught in the program.
She said in Nigeria, security and punishment have become the penal priorities, adding that this had led to high rate of crimes and crowded correctional facilities.
“Ex-convicts who are entrepreneurs will like to employ those who went through the programme because of the commitment they will get from them and this will reduce reoffending.
“Many offenders enter prison with a lack of hope or belief that there is opportunity for a future, many former offenders leave correctional center feeling the same,” she said.
She stated that an entrepreneurial mindset can provide a viable pathway for inmates to inspire hope and opportunity for the future.
Pascal further said the training will provide the inmates with skills to succeed secure employment or create an entrepreneurial pathway for themselves. (NAN)