In accordance with the Criminal Justice Law of Rivers State and the Special Provision Act of the Law of the Federation, Justice Chibuzor-Amadi explained that this act of clemency is a component of the preparations for the upcoming 2023/2024 Legal Year.
These pardoned inmates are individuals who have been facing trial for various offenses, with some languishing in the facility for a period ranging from five to nine years, awaiting trial without any formal charges brought against them.
He further stressed, “More importantly, it symbolises our dedication to ensuring that individuals have the chance to reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens.”
He advised the freed inmates to turn a new leaf and desist from any temptation to go back to criminality.
“As you partake in this jail delivery exercise, let us remember that our actions today have the potential to transform lives. While we show empathy and compassion during this exercise, this does not in any way absorb individuals from being accountable for their actions,” he said.
Justice Chubuzor-Amadi urged the police to ensure thorough investigations are done before charging suspects in court, saying, “Our custodial centres should not be warehouses for the forgotten nor should they be breeding grounds for hardened criminals.
“Rather they should be places for transformation where individuals can reflect on their past actions, learn from their mistakes and receive the necessary tools and support for their rehabilitation.
“To achieve this, we need collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the criminal administration system. The judiciary, the correctional services, law enforcement agencies, legal aid organizations and community leaders must work hand in hand to ensure justice prevails.”
In his remarks, the Controller, Port Harcourt Maximum Correctional Centre, Felix Lawrence, said the exercise has reduced the number of inmates in the facility and thanked the CJ.
He said, “Permit me to use this opportunity to appreciate you for your efforts to decongest the custodial centres in the state.