Nigerian prisons are governed by federal laws, All prisons in Nigeria are run solely by the federal government nil private prisons in Nigeria. In pursuance of the powers conferred on the position of the Controller-General of Prisons by Section 16 (1) (a) and (b), Cap. P.29 LFN 2004, the Nigerian Prisons Standing Order is brought into law. The Nigerian prison laws otherwise known as Nigerian Prisons Standing Order are divided into the following parts:
- Administration of Prison; and
- Organization and Control.
The Nigeria Prisons System has been around long before the amalgamation of 1914. From mere detention centers to Native Authority prisons and to the current Federal system we have today, the Prisons in Nigeria have come a long way. The origin of modern Prisons Service in Nigeria is 1861. That was the year when conceptually, Western-type prison was established in Nigeria. The declaration of Lagos as a colony in 1861 marked the beginning of the institution of formal machinery of governance. At this stage the preoccupation of the colonial government was to protect legitimate trade, guarantee the profit of British merchants as well as guarantee the activities of the missionaries.
The Prison regulation was published in 1917 to prescribe admission, custody, treatment and classification procedures as well as staffing, dieting and clothing regimes for the prisons. These processes were limited in one very general sense. They were not geared towards any particular type of treatment of inmates. Instead they represent just policies of containment of those who were already in prison. Besides, they were limited in application to those who were convicted or remanded in custody by criminal courts of the British-inspired supreme or provincial types. It was not until 1934 that any meaningful attempt was made to introduce relative modernization into the Prison Service.
There have been massive transformations in the Service since 1972. It has undergone some reorganization from its modest three Directorates in 1980 to six Directorates in 1993. There was the 1986 reorganization of the Prisons consequent upon the creation of the Customs, Immigrations and Prisons Board and centralization of the administrations of these paramilitary Services in the Board. There was also the removal of the Services from the Civil Service in 1992. It now has a command structure that boast of 8 Zonal commands, 36 State Commands, 1 FCT Command, 144 Prisons including farm centers and 83 Satellite Prisons. It also has four Training Schools, one Staff College and 2 Borstal Institutions.
The Nigerian Prisons Service Standing Orders (Revised Edition), 2011 deals with laws, rules and regulations governing the Nigerian Prisons Service operations in Nigeria.
See Also : The Nigeria PRISONS ACT