The child incarceration system in our country, Nigeria, is marked by inherent injustice. It is imperative that we recognize the urgency of this crisis and prioritize putting an end to child imprisonment in Nigeria. Abundant evidence demonstrates that there exist alternatives to incarcerating young individuals that are fairer, safer, and more financially viable. Prison is not the last resort for children. It isn't safe, isn't fair, doesn't work, and can't be fixed. In Nigerian juvenile prisons, children are at high risk of physical and sexual abuse, and it increases the chances that they will enter the adult criminal justice system.
To squarely confront this crisis, we have launched the No Child in Prison. Our aim is to eliminate child incarceration entirely by fostering a new national consensus against the imprisonment of young individuals. Instead, we advocate for investments in community programs that can steer them towards success. Our strategy involves working towards a critical mass of states that shift away from incarceration, prioritizing community investments.
Child incarceration affects young people, their families, and communities and our No Child in Prison program is creating a world without children’s prisons. We’re ensuring youth access to services, programs and opportunities in their communities, rather than incarceration.
- Abolishing child incarceration by dismantling the current youth prison model, shutting down and repurposing youth detention facilities.
- Channeling resources into community-based support, services, and youth opportunities by redirecting funds away from incarceration, generating new investments, and altering financial incentives.
- Pioneering sustainable, comprehensive organizing campaigns with a focus on centering and empowering directly affected youth, utilizing campaigns to build capacity and foster leadership development.
Our efforts encompasses:
- Rehabilitation and Support: Our initiative include programs like education, counseling, vocational training, and mentorship to enable them to break the cycle of criminality, become productive members of society, and develop essential life skills that help young people address the root causes of their behavior.
- Healing and Reintegration: A core aspect of our work involves healing and reintegration of youth into their communities. We recognize that many young individuals have faced trauma and adverse circumstances, which can contribute to their involvement in criminal activities. Our approach involves providing therapeutic interventions, trauma-informed care, and community support to help them heal from their experiences.
- State and Local campaigns: We have played a pivotal role in establishing and launching campaigns in 15 jurisdictions, roughly a third of all states, with the goal of tipping the balance toward ending youth incarceration.
- Elevating directly affected leadership: The voices that can drive change most effectively are those of the youth themselves. Our campaign substantially invests in organizing and empowering young people in our target states, many of whom have experienced incarceration. We have observed that when lawmakers and the public hear directly from young individuals, they recognize that the costly and punitive nature of the current system doesn't align with the best approach to ensuring safety and fostering opportunities for our communities.
- National coordination and impact: In an unprecedented move, we are connecting ongoing state campaigns across numerous organizations to rapidly refine and amplify our efforts, ensuring we employ cutting-edge tactics collectively.