Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti says he has directed the Ministry of Justice to urgently prepare modalities for further decongestion of the Federal Correctional Centre, Ado-Ekiti.
Fayemi, gave the directive in a statement issued by Mr Tunde Olaolorun, Special Assistant to the Attorney-General on Public Education, Media and Communication, on Wednesday.
The governor said the order was in line with the State and Federal Governments directives to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus in the state.
He said that the directive was based on the reasoning that inmates were likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreak than the general population.
According to him, this is because of the confined conditions in which they live together for long period of time.
”Against this background, it has become necessary that the state government take full account of all the rights of inmates in the Correctional Centre and their families.
”Also, all staff and other persons providing support to the facility, including lawyers and service providers, when taking measures to combat the pandemic in the state,” he said.
The governor said that the Ministry of Justice would convene an emergency meeting of the Advisory Council of Prerogative of Mercy to deliberate on the below material.
“The council will approve an assessment study of the population of the correctional facility to identify individuals most at risk, taking account of all particular vulnerable groups.
“Approve a draft proposal for the reduction of population in the facility, wherever possible, including implementing a scheme of early release.
“Consider a proposal for the review of all cases of pre-trial detention to determine whether it is strictly necessary in the prevailing public health emergency in Ekiti light.
“Approve practical measures to ensure that persons released from the facility are subject to monitoring, including requirements of physical address, obtaining credible references and other appropriate non-intrusive monitoring measures,” Fayemi said.
He added that the council would be invited to review the cases of all persons in the Ado-Ekiti Correctional Centre and consider the desirability of the early release of the following four groups of detainees.
The governor noted that this was without prejudice to the rules of procedure adopted by the Council at its second statutory sitting held on Oct.7, 2019.
He listed the four groups as; Persons in pre-trial detention, particularly those for minor or low-risk offences; women with children; persons at risk population such as elderly inmates or those with underlying life threatening health issues.
The governor said that the fourth group were persons sentenced for minor, low risk offences- particularly those who have 18 months or less remaining of their sentence to serve.