Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) an Abuja-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has decried the growing numbers of women and babies in prisons.
Mr Sylvester Uhaa, its Executive Director, told newsmen in Abuja on Friday that the high number of women and babies in prisons was worrisome.
He said that a more worrying aspect of it was that babies in prisons were staying with their mothers and lacked facilities and services to meet their peculiar needs.
Uhaa said that these women lacked proper feeding, access to nutrition, sanitary items and education, among others.
“We call on the Federal Government to implement a policy that seeks to minimise the number of women that go to prisons, particularly pregnant women and nursing mothers and to take adequate care of children living in prisons.
“For example, women who are begging for alms should not be arrested and sent to prisons, but rather supported and empowered,’’ he said.
Uhaa urged the Federal Government to build more prisons and address the root causes of crimes as jails would not solve all the problems.
According to him, more than half a million women and girls are being held in penal institutions around the world either as convicts or detainees.
Uhaa said that reduction in the number of pre-trial detainees could resolve prison overcrowding, limit the spread of diseases, reduce poverty and spur development.
“We call on the Federal Government to take immediate and progressive steps to provide people in prison with quality access to health care.
“We call on the government to establish family courts and ensure that all international standards guiding the arrest, trial and sentence of juveniles in conflict with the law are respected and complied with,’’ he said.
Uhaa urged that more vehicles be donated to prisons to assist prison officials to convey inmates to courts and discourage the situation where state governors donated 100 vehicles to the police and just one to the prison authority.