REHABILITATION OF EX-CONVICTS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES TO PREVENT INFLUX OF PEOPLE TO PRISONS
PRALARG is committed to providing the best possible opportunity for ex-convicts to make a new start in life upon their release, and thesuccessful reintegration of ex-convicts into the society would depend largely on how ready the public accepts and supports them.
In this connection, the organization has been actively promoting public acceptance of and support for rehabilitated ex-convicts through public enlightenment and education.
Pointedly, we have organized publicity and public education activities to help the public better understand the needs and problems of rehabilitated offenders and to appeal for their support. These activities include special TV and Radio programmes, symposiums on the employment of rehabilitated offenders, exhibitions, TV and Radio announcements in the public interest, the appointment of local celebrities and public figures as Rehabilitation Ambassadors etc.
Furthermore, ex-convicts do not only suffer stigmatization from the members of the public but they face other challenges like homelessness, joblessness, and lack of finance. This is so because many lose their jobs during the period of imprisonment, their wealth and properties to court fines and series of court adjournment.
As a result of these, Pralarg has established some channels which welcome and facilitate public involvement in the rehabilitation of the offenders. These include:
These are important because the risk of ex-convicts returning to crime will be drastically reduced.
The organization has several interventions to prevent the influx of people to prison through Alternative Dispute Resolution because conflict cannot be prevented but the best instrument is to use the positive input to prevent litigation. We have also prevented abuse of right by law enforcement agents using their offices to perpetrate several illegal arrest and extortion in Nigeria.
PRESENT IMPLICATIONS OF IMPRISONMENT
The present prison condition in Nigeria is not reformatory, rather it aggravates the criminal tendency of the inmates that supposed to be reformed or take a new leave. Our experience has revealed major problems confronting prisons in Nigeria, these include:
(1.) Lack of CLASSIFICATION, non-violent inmate after prison experience usually comes out hardened.
(2.) Non-affordability of the criminal justice system in Nigeria. Most inmates and their families lose a lot of money during their prosecution. This makes the inmates come out hardened or fall back to crime in order to survive.
(3.) Stigmatization: This happens to both ex-convicts and anyone who has passed through prosecution in Nigeria. Whether convicted or discharged and acquitted, people stigmatize anybody that has passed through the prison; this makes it difficult for people to turn a new leave.
(4.) Employment: It is very difficult for ex-convicts to secure employment after discharge hence this makes most of the discharged inmates to fall back to crime.
(5.) Settlement: Many ex-convicts found it very difficult to find a place of abode after release from the prison and this makes lives miserable for them.
(6.) Contamination of Diseases and Infections: Due to the overcrowding in the prison, inmates contact diseases and infections.
(7.) Some inmates, because of restriction and harsh conditions in the prison get mentally derailed.
PRISONS AND SOCIETY
These two worlds have a lot to contribute to global peace, depending largely on the way we handle them. If we fail to help the vulnerable in society, the prison will be flooded with inmates and lose its purpose and credibility. Likewise, if we fail to help or reform the inmates, then we should rest assured that on discharge, these set of people we have refused to reform will make the society a living hell. A greater percentage of those in prisons got there as victims of circumstances a lot awaiting trials. The fact still remains that if we do what we are supposed to do as a society and as individuals, many of them will not be there in the first place. We believe we needed to do something both for those incarcerated and the public in general in addressing some of these challenges including the knowledge and information gaps identified. The things we ignorantly and carelessly do but that is against the law it is said that there is no ignorance in law. Our passion for a change gave birth to PRALARG believe that the best time to act is NOW. ‘So long as any society has a system that lets people out of prison, it is in when they went in’-Erwin James
PRALARG PARALEGAL VOLUNTEERS
A paralegal is a community-based person trained with basic knowledge of the law and the legal system. He/she is trained to understand different methods that can be used in dealing with disputes and legal matters to assist vulnerable and disadvantaged people to assert their rights without necessarily engaging the services of a lawyer or resorting to litigation which may be time consuming and expensive. A paralegal has a strong role to play in encouraging respect for human rights and the rule of law and promoting peace and positive change in the community.
For effectiveness a paralegal should reside in the area in which he/she will be working, this will encourage acceptability by the people within the community and assist the paralegal to have a good understanding of the problems of the local people and their environment.
Who can become a Paralegal?
A paralegal may be selected from among respected community-based leaders or groups. The paralegal can either be a full-time or part-time worker. The following persons may be trained as paralegals:
Retired civil servants
Members of community-based organizations
Urban/rural youth leaders
Trade union leaders and members
Representatives of groups and associations
Student volunteers/Law students
MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE AND LEADERSHIP PATTERN
There is a Board of Trustees, Advisory Council and a Management Team. These organs form the supervising, coordinating, management and administrative framework of the organization. The board of trustees serves as the supervising and advisory body while the management team is responsible for the day to day smooth running and operations of the Administration, Training and Research, Media and Public Relation, and Finance and Account Departments. The responsibilities of these arms are clearly stated in the organization’s constitution and administrative guidelines. All structures and organs are involved in the decision-making process and work together for the success, development and smooth running of the organization.
|Chief Executive Office
|Founder of the organization
|Director, Programs (Headquarters)
|Director, Administration (Headquarters)
|Director, Finance and Account (Headquarters)
|Finance and Account
|Director, Research and Training (Headquarters)
|Research and Training
|Director, Media and Publicity(Headquarters)
|Media and Publicity
|6 Zonal Directors of Programs
|6 Geopolitical Zones
|36 State Coordinators of Programs
|36 State Coordinators
|All Local Government Area
Cost Consciousness and Sound Management of Resources
– All projects/Programs of the organization are managed properly with the judicious and effective use of resources.
– Management and Staff are highly concerned about the best use of resources for optimum result.
(b.) Concern for Environment
– All projects/Programs of the organization are environmentally friendly.
– The staff works in a threat-free and congenial environment.
– All projects, programs, and services rendered by the organization are high in quality.
– Staff and management are responsible for maintaining the quality of program performance/delivery through our monitoring and evaluation mechanism.
Capability and Accountability
– The staff possesses adequate knowledge and understanding of their roles and the ability to identify and resolve challenges that may arise from time to time in the course of doing their job.
– Management and Staff of Pralarg strictly follow their work plan and demonstrate diligence and accountability to the organization.
Creativity and Innovation
– In all cases, creativity and innovation are encouraged and highly appreciated in the whole project or program cycle of the organization.
– Creativity and innovative work of staff are rewarded
– All staff, beneficiaries and counterparts respect the organization’s rules and regulation.
– Staff are committed to the policy, procedures and system of the organization.
– Any violation of rules and regulations are treated seriously and disciplinary actions are taken accordingly.
(d.) Staff Protection
– The organization adheres strictly to its financial management and accounting policy.
– The organization is always very much open to beneficiaries especially about the information that affects them and it is ready to provide answers to any questions raised.
– The organization is also transparent to its Counterparts and Partners in terms of operation and transactions.
– The organization maintains close touch with the government or its agencies and provides all necessary information to the authorities when necessary or as required by law.
– No external interest or influence is allowed in the operation of the organization.
– The organization has an adequate check and balance system designed to checkmate wastage, misappropriation or fraud. We are a law-abiding organization and we must maintain what we believe irrespective of the status of our economy.
Written Policy, Procedure and Manual
Irrespective of being a local, national community-based international organization, PRALARG INT’L operates under certain policies and guidelines which dictate processes and procedures for operation in line with international best practices. These documents include:
– Personnel Policy,
– Financial Management and Accounting Policy,
– Program Operational Guide or Work Plan,
– Administrative Guideline and
– Procurement Policy.
These policies and guidelines are documented and available to all staff and officers of the organization including partners