The advocacy championed by CAPIO led to the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Enugu State. The law will largely curb incidences of human rights abuse in prisons, whilst also promoting efficient justice delivery in the State. On implementation of the law in the courts, large number of people awaiting trial will be eligible for release from prison. Therefore, it was necessary to conduct psychological assessment of inmates, in anticipation of subsequent release. To achieve this, CAPIO partnered with the Nigerian Psychological Association to conduct psychological assessments and intervention across prisons in Enugu State. This intervention was aimed at assessing the mental health status of inmates, with a view to building the capacity of prison psychologists to effectively handle mental issues facing inmates in their custody. On assessment of inmates, it was discovered that longer lengths of incarceration affected their cognitive function and neurological integrity. Also, an alarming rate of drug use and abuse was recorded among inmates. Inmates also suffered from psychological ailments like somatization, depression, anxiety and aggression, to mention a few.
It is evident that there is an urgent need for consolidated efforts in providing psychological interventions for prisoners. The prisons should be correctional and rehabilitative facilities where inmates are reformed, in anticipation of re-integration into the society at large. This reformation will not only be beneficial to inmates who will become productive citizens on release, but will also purge the society of criminal recidivism attributable to poor mental health.
The effort of the present administration in constructing rehabilitation centres in borstal homes is quite commendable. It is highly suggested that drug-rehabilitation institutions should also be established in regular prisons to curb the high rate of drug use among inmates. It is also suggested that policies be adopted to ensure sustainability of these interventions.