The Health and Social Welfare (H & SW) Directorate of the Nigerian Prisons Service is an amalgam of various units that are charged with the physical, psychological and developmental well-being of the inmates and staff.
The Directorate is charged with the administration of prison clinics and hospitals. With its complement of Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and Paramedics, the Directorate ensures all-year round rendition of medical services to inmates in all the Prison nationwide. The Directorate also develops and implements new strategies for confronting changing faces of disease control and management in the ever changing global systems.
The Directorate also sees to the maintenance of proper environment in the prisons through the Environmental Health section. This section takes care of environmental sanitation in all the prisons. Through fumigation of cells, provision of potable water, maintenance of sewage systems and general environmental orderliness in all prisons, the section helps to maintain environmental friendliness in all prison formations in the country.
Through its Welfare Section, the Directorate ensures the realization of one of the major objectives of the Prisons Service i.e. the reform and rehabilitation of convicts. Through a complicated set of mechanisms consisting among others of counselling, group work, case work session, recreational activities, religious services and adult and remedial education programmes this section tries not only to identify the causes of the inmates’ anti-social behaviour but also endeavours to set them on the road to reform through induced self-rediscovery and eventual change for the better. This is also done through the provision of educational development project. This has led some inmates to obtain Degrees from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) while in prison.
This is complemented by skills acquisition programme which the section conducts in conjunction with the Inmates’ Training and Productivity Directorate which enables inmates acquire skills in various vocations like carpentry, tailoring, printing, building and masonry etc. in the course of serving their terms of imprisonment.
Through its Aftercare Services programme, the Directorate also helps to settle successful discharging inmates in their chosen vocations. This is done through assisting them with tools, spaces and even post-discharge supervision and patronage so that they can fit properly into lawful relationship in the society. By doing so the circle of want and crime in their lives is broken for good.
The other section of this Directorate is the Catering Section. This section regulates the supply of food to the prison. It supervises the cooking of the food and implements policies that have to do with the feeding of inmates in terms of the provision of cooking utensils, the maintenance of prison kitchens and the determination of the nutritional and calorific contents of the food of the inmates in terms of wholesomeness and health.