THE IMPACT OF PRISON CONDITIONS AND SOCIAL FORCES ON CRIMINAL
RECIDIVISM IN NIGERIA
OTU, M SOROCHI & NNAM, M UCHENNA
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Faculty of Social Sciences
Ebonyi State University,
PMB 053, Abakaliki
The prison institution is established all over the world with the vision and mission of reformation and rehabilitation of inmates. However, the relevance of Nigerian prisons has been challenged for its glaring inability to reform inmates and thus guards against relapsing into crime and criminality. The Nigerian prison system has over the years witnessed ever-increasing rate of recidivism. It is on this premise that the study examined the impact of prison conditions and social forces on criminal recidivism in Nigeria. The study made use of secondary data which were analytically reviewed and descriptively analysed. It is established in this study that criminal recidivism is caused by a plethora of social forces: situational, personal, familial, structural, psychological, economic, drug abuse, criminal association, and peer influence and pressure. The Nigerian prison system is characterised by debilitating conditions which subject inmates to inhumane treatment, thereby compelling them to import or form criminal subculture in order to cope with the hostile life that is commonplace in the Nigerian prison system. Prison inmates either import or form inmate code with its resultant ‘prisonisation’ within and outside the walls of prison institution and therefore internalised and institutionalised them over time through deviant learning and symbiotic relationships. Drawing corroboration from the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules (UNSMR) specifications, which Nigeria is a signatory to, the study recommended that living conditions in all Nigeria prisons should reflect human dignity in all aspects: accommodation, hygiene, sanitation, food, clothing, medical facilities, accoutrements of modern prisons, and the like.