Justice William Akinrotoye during the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee State Workshop, in Akure on Wednesday disclosed that the Ondo State government has been working on ways to prevent lengthy detention of suspects in a bid to decongest the correctional centres across the state.
Akinrotoye who expressed concerns over the congestion of prisons and police custody in the state, described the development as worrisome and said there was a need to nip the matter in the bud.
According to the CJ, the suspects, staying too long in detention at the correctional centres might become hardened criminals, when they got out, hence the need to prevent prolonged detention.
“Somebody who is innocent maybe he or she was arrested because of misfortune and you allow him or her to stay in the correctional centre for a long time, by the time he comes out, he or she would have become a hardened criminal. It is better we don’t allow such persons to get there at all. So we are working assiduously to ensure that we prevent so many souls from prison contamination, we don’t allow them to get there in the first place” he added.
On the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee, the judge noted that the committee shall be charged with the general supervision of the administration of criminal justice in Ondo State.
He listed the functions of the committee to include ensuring that criminal matters are speedily dealt with, that congestion of criminal cases in courts is drastically reduced, congestion in prisons is reduced to the barest minimum and persons awaiting trial are as much as possible not detained in prison custody.
The Executive Secretary of the ACJMC in the state, Bola Joe, in her remarks, recalled that the ACJ Law came into force in 2015 while the committee was inaugurated in 2019.
She however lamented that the committee was facing some challenges which included inadequate funding from the government, lack of tools to work in their secretariat and lack of staff in the secretariat