IMPROVING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN NIGERIA THROUGH RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: LESSONS FROM CANADA AND NEW ZEALAND
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This thesis argues the need for Nigeria to incorporate restorative justice within its criminal justice system. Its prevailing adversarial system is bedevilled with various challenges such as over- incarceration, recidivism, high rates of juvenile crime and prison congestion. The work draws lessons from Canada and New Zealand, two jurisdictions that have made improvements to similar systems like Nigeria via the adoption and practice of restorative justice. The advantages that a restorative justice alternative bring to criminal justice administration in Nigeria include less use of incarceration, improvement in social relationships, rehabilitation and the reintegration of young offenders. The thesis recommends that this reform can be achieved through legislation and coordination between various criminal justice practitioners and community agencies. The challenges of lack of political will by the government and over-centralization of power must be addressed through devolution and empowerment of relevant state institutions for this purpose.
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