The House of Representatives said it is proposing a Bill seeking to strip the Federal Government of controlling prison formations, nationwide, for improved services.
According to the House, the Bill, which will soon pass through a second reading, is also proposing community service as alternative to prison term for miscellaneous offenders.
Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, who made this known in Abuja, said the bill when passed into law, will check the prison congestion across the country.
Expressing concern over the state of prisons in the country, Gbajabiamila said the prisons have the potential of producing more criminals.
“This is apart from the people who may be in there for a period of two months to six months because the alternative was to pay a fine of N20,000 which they didn’t have.
“They are not criminals but petty offenders involved in misdemeanours like wandering or trading illegally on the streets or hawking.
“So, the issue is for us to come up with a bill for community services for people like that rather than making prison terms an alternative. All over the world, they don’t do that for such offences.
“I am actually happy that the community service Bill is in the process and will be coming for a second reading very soon so that we can decongest our prisons,’’ he said.
Gbajabiamila also said the Bill seeks the removal of prison issues from the jurisdiction of the Federal Government to the states for improved services, because it believes that the prison should be controlled by the state governments, as many inmates are being tried for state offences.
“If each state has about three or five prisons we are talking about over 100 prisons across the country and that will help to reduce congestion,” the lawmaker said.