Lagos - Justice Ayotunde Phillips, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, on Tuesday granted parole to 75 inmates awaiting trial at the Kirikiri Medium and Maximum Prisons in Lagos.
Justice Phillips released the inmates during an inspection tour of the detention facilities ahead of her retirement. The retiring judge is scheduled to step down from the bench on July 25, 2014.
While 71 inmates were set free at the medium facility, three were released at the maximum prison, and one at the female prison.
Speaking afterwards, Justice Phillips revealed that she made the move in order to further decongest the prisons, while also “showing mercy” to inmates who had not been tried for many years.
She lamented that despite her best efforts to redress the congestion of prisons during her tenure as Chief Judge, the challenge still remains unsolved.
“I really don't know what more I could have done as a person to reduce the number of awaiting-trial inmates”, said Phillips, who urged the freed inmates not to return to criminal ways.
“They form the bulk of the number of persons in our prisons today, and we need to go back to the drawing board to see how we can reduce it. And this is why we came up with various reforms in the criminal justice system, particularly the introduction of the bail guidelines. It’s all to decongest our prisons,” Justice Phillips said.
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