In the criminal justice system, reintegration refers to the process of reentry into society by persons that have been in prison, or incarcerated. Reintegration includes the reinstatement of freedoms not previously had by individuals as a result of being in prison. It is important to remember that the prison is essentially a society within a society – meaning that while in prison, there are completely different social guidelines and cultural norms. Presently in Nigeria, they are now referred to as Correctional Centres and no longer prisons.
Some of the advantages are:
- Reintegration of ex-convicts will enable them get support from family and friends which would help them stay off crimes where there is a wiliness to do that;
- It gives them a second chance at life;
- It gives them the opportunity to right their wrongs;
- They become examples to young ones treading the path to crimes and also tell their stories of how bitter it feels to lose their freedom; and
- Reintegration helps to test how effective the correctional centers have been in helping to improve this ex-convict.
In the absence of material, psychological, and social support at the time of their release, offenders may have a very difficult time breaking the cycle of release and re-arrest.
Some of the disadvantages are:
- Most convicts returning to the society will face uncertainty over their future and animosity from a predominantly unforgiving society, as well as a multitude of personal, social, and legal barriers that prevent them from leading law-abiding lives;
- Finding safe and affordable housing is difficult for ex- convicts who often face limitations on where they can live;
- If ex-convicts are forced to return to the same destructive environment that contributed to their initial incarceration, they will often submit to the same temptations and reoffend; and
- Most of these convicts after reintegration go back to crime, especially in attempt to make the society pay for their years in prison.
Everyone deserves a second opportunity to correct their wrongs especially if they are willing to do so. Remember not everyone in the correctional centre is guilty; some are just victims of circumstances.