The FCT command of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) has urged the removal of the criminal conviction status section from recruitment and employment forms.

This call was made by Ibrahim Idris, the command’s comptroller, during a sensitization road walk against the stigmatization of ex-offenders held in Gwagwalada area council in Abuja.

Mr. Idris emphasized that eliminating the criminal conviction portion on employment forms would help combat discrimination and stigmatization against individuals with a history of criminal convictions.

The sensitization event is part of the annual Yellow Ribbon Campaign organized by the NCoS, and the 2023 campaign saw collaboration with Prison Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) and Hope Behind Bars Africa.

The comptroller stressed the importance of ending the stigmatization of ex-offenders and providing them with opportunities for reintegration into society.

He noted, “Today is Yellow Ribbon Day, an international day for peace. In the NCoS, we mark it with sensitization on ex-inmates of correctional services. We took the campaign to the chief of Gwagwalada to raise awareness among the community, emphasizing the need to offer ex-offenders opportunities in the town.”

Mr. Idris explained that the focus is now on corrections and rehabilitation, as per the Nigeria Correctional Service Act 2019. He highlighted a section of the act that empowers the comptroller general of NCoS to certify that an inmate is ready to return to society. This certification ensures that the individual has been rehabilitated and poses no threat to society.

He further emphasized that stigmatization of ex-offenders, especially through employment forms, has been a concern at the policy level. The new act aims to address this issue by advocating for society and employers to provide opportunities for ex-offenders to reintegrate into society.

Mr. Idris pointed out that advanced countries also have similar segments on employment forms, and ex-offenders often proudly display their correctional services certificates.

In conclusion, Mr. Idris stressed that having once been in a correctional service should not hinder individuals from obtaining jobs. He emphasized that imprisonment serves as punishment for offenders, and prisons play a significant role in reforming and rehabilitating them. The remaining 50 percent of the rehabilitation process relies on society accepting ex-offenders without condemnation or discrimination.

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