Role Of Inmates In Peace Building

Role Of Inmates In Peace Building
Role Of Inmates In Peace Building


By Isaac Maris

In the past, the outbreak of conflict among inmates in Correctional Centres especially here in Kuje Medium Correctional Centre has been a common occurrence. These conflicts arise for various reasons which could be conflict of religion, conflict of cultural difference, conflict of food and water, among others.  Curbing such conflicts were very difficult until recently, when reforms started to manifest thereby changing the name of prisons to correctional centers. In recent times inmates across correctional centers are able to settle disputes and conflict on their own sometimes or without the help of correctional service authority due to the formulation of law and guidelines governing the affairs of inmates internally in the various cells which has led to easy resolution of disputes. In most cases for the avoidance of conflicts and their resolution these laws governing inmates are usually formulated by inmates themselves and they act as checks and balance. They also check-mate the activities of inmates, as a result, self-consciousness is always maintained.

Further more using Kuje Correctional Centre as a case study where I am an inmate, administration of the Centre is divided into sections. There is the general head to the custodial heads down to the cell elders. These officials are usually chosen amongst inmates by way of election. This is how administration of law and justice is usually done among the inmates. I happen to be the cell elder of my cell and disputes resolution inside the cell is mostly done by traditional means of settlement which entails dialogue. Disputes are settled amongst the inmates according to the laid down rules and regulations which guides the conduct of cell members. These prevents the breakdown of law and order. I am currently a student of Peace and Conflicts Resolution at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). This has therefore afforded me the opportunity of using the various mean of resolving disputes that I have learnt overtime coupled with lay down laws that already exist amongst inmates. Administration among the inmates in the various cells is made very easy by way of diplomacy. Peace law and order is usually maintained on a day to day basis when these laws are observed.

The role of inmates in the area of peace building even as inmates or even when they have left the correctional center cannot be underestimated as a result of the past experience he or she gathered within walls of the prison which helped him or her to maintain a certain level of self consciousness. Below are some of the roles of ex-inmates in the area of peace building in the society.


Inmates who have passed through the correctional system at some point could be said to have gathered some form of experience or knowledge as the correctional service provides for three tenants which are re-rehabilitation, reformation, re-integration having pass through all these and inmates is in a better position to create awareness and sensitization to the larger society, on the need for living crime free life and activities that can cause crime and issues that lead to committing offences and to tackle them. The ex-inmate can  as well enlighten people on how trial issues have been taken for granted and thus lead people to prison. Some cases have been have been handled in such a manner that innocent people may have suffered unjustly and treated mercilessly. Ex-inmate are supposed to teach the society on the need to be mindful of living and co-existing amongst one another in order to avoid conflict; thereby enhancing peace building.


Ex-inmates who have left the Correctional Centre have knowledge of various offences and understand the dynamics of crime and criminal intents. They could be used as tools by security agencies to study crimes in their various degrees and proffer solutions on how to tackle such crimes. These basis help security agencies to effectively carry out investigations, follow up on law and order as well as effectively executing justice and arresting of criminals. All these tend toward encouraging better policing, maintenance or law and order which is a major contributor to peace building.




In most cases it is assumed that inmates who have passed through the correctional system have gone through reformation, rehabilitation and re-integration must have learnt a trade or skill even improving on previously acquired skills or idea. Skills provided at the correctional centres include tailoring, carpentry, cap making, barbing, soap making, fishery, pottery and others. Individuals with some level of education can decide to further their studies such as the enrolment for WAEC and NECO examination. I took advantage of the educational opportunities at the Kuje Correctional Centre to sit for my General Certificate of Education and had the requirements for admission into tertiary institution of learning. I therefore applied for admission into the National Open University.  I am currently pursuing a Degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. This is made possible through the intervention of Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who are in partnership with the Correctional Service to ensure that inmates are able to further their education even during their period of incarceration. I have also been able to acquire a skill playing a piano and am currently playing for the Correctional Centre Chapel. In view of the opportunities at the Correctional Centre, an inmate when reabsorbed into the society, exhibits and applies knowledge of what he or she has acquired in form of skill or trade in doing what he or she is contributing to the labour force and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also reducing the rate of crime in the society. These contribute to peace building.


 *Isaac Maris is an inmate in the  Kuje Correctional Centre and currently a student of Peace and Conflicts Resolution at the National Open University of Nigeria.*

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