Awaiting Trial Detainees are people whose cases are yet to be tried by the courts of law. The constitutions of most Sub-Saharan States that any person who is arrested or detained should be informed within a reasonable time as well as a right to fair hearing by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality. Awaiting Trial Persons account for almost 72% of the total prison population in Nigeria and considered to be the major cause of over-population of prisons in Nigeria - click here to access the document. Given the inefficient nature of current state of the Nigerian Criminal Justice System, some of them do not even know the reason for their incarceration and yet on the average, a detainee will stay for more than ten years before his or her case is visited. The Ivo Legal Aid program provided free legal representation and counselling to very poor and vulnerable indigent remand inmates that cannot afford the cost of securing legal representation for themselves. Under this program, priority will be given to remand inmates who have been awaiting trial for a very long time and those who are victims of human rights violations.
Care for children of prison inmates
Parental incarceration has far-reaching implications for the incarcerated parent(s), the children, and the community. For the incarcerated parent, the child’s security and welfare is a source of constant anxiety and guilt because of the life his or her or both actions have deprived the child. For the community, since children of incarcerated person(s) are very impressionable and can be easily influenced by prevailing negative influences in prison particularly from hardened and unrepentant convicts, this creates a pattern of uneducated and unemployable adults susceptible to criminal behaviour.
Children of incarcerated parents are not a well identified population. The general public has little or no information about their challenges. Being incarcerated with the parents exposes them to the difficult and unhealthy circumstance within the prison. Every child has the right to wholesome development. For example, under the new Nigeria Prison Standing Order, A child who has passed the breastfeeding age (which has been stipulated as two years) would not be allowed to remain with the mother in prison. After separation these children are either given to relatives or orphanages to care for them.
Ivo Foundation through its care program and in partnership with the Nigerian Prison Services, will be facilitating the effective implementation of the Child Rights Act within the Nigerian Prisons by the provision of care to children of prison inmates (inclusive of counselling, family re-integration if necessary, and educational/vocational training).
With the current wave of violence, insecurity and crime in the country, the most vulnerable communities are those of individuals and families with little or no means of livelihood. Ivo Foundation focuses on empowering individuals especially those from ‘at risk’ communities with skills and the means to start up self sustaining businesses.
Through the Economic Empowerment Program, Ivo Foundation will provide skill training and small business start-up grants for ex-prisoners in order to reduce the rate of criminal recidivism and encourage them to engage in meaningful economic activity.