Researchers Urged to Probe Relevance of Prisons to Correctional System
The Controller, Nigerian Prisons, Ikoyi, Lagos, Mr. Olumide Tinuoye, has urged researchers to investigate if a qualitative sociological study of prisons is useful and of relevance to the correctional system.
Mr. Tinuoye, who was the Guest Speaker at a recent Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Sociology, Covenant University, where he spoke on the theme, ‘Prison Administration in Contemporary Nigeria: A Sociologist Perspective’, stated that, “experts in sociology cannot claim that there is no lack of knowledge and discourse about prison nowadays as they exist in various reports. But of course, some areas pertaining to life and death in confinement definitely remain in the dark, and this merits deeper scrutiny”.
According to him, it is essential that sociologists studying prison intensify not only their sociological imagination, but also their critical vigilance with respect to their own assumptions and habits and to the principles of social justice on which their critical posture is predicated.
Mr. Tinuoye posited that academic research methods and theories of sociology, over the years, have yielded powerful insights into the social processes shaping human lives and social problems and prospects in the contemporary world, and by better understanding those social processes, correctional officials have also come to understand more clearly the forces shaping the personal experiences.
The guest speaker, who was accompanied to the Town and Gown seminar by his Personal Assistant, Mr. Adedeji Eniola, a 2008 graduate of the Department of Marketing, Covenant University, said that inmates have learnt that their previous statuses mean nothing and the only thing that counts is their current status. This, he pointed out, should only apply when they are within the institution of prisons.
Conformity to expected conduct, he noted, is the basic requirement of every customer of the prison community. “These individuals change their behaviour to fit in with the expectations of authorities or the expectations of a larger group,” he added.
While decrying what he perceived as the general assumption that only bad people go to prisons, the prison Controller averred that the manner of relationship of such like-minded constituents plays a crucial role in the integration or rejection of inmates at the end of their prison term.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Head, Department of Sociology, Professor Patrick Edewor, said that the quest of becoming one of the top 10 universities in the world by the year 2022, has necessitated the active collaboration between Covenant University and those in the industry, with a view to identifying problems that can be investigated to solving industrial and societal problems.
The seminar was the 5th in the series held in the current academic session of the Sociology Department, and the 13th since inception of the initiative in the 2014/2015 Academic Session.