Kenyan Prison Population Rise To 58,887 Against Capacity Of 34,000 – Eagle News Feed
Prison authorities have protested the rising population of inmates in prison facilities in the country.
Most of the inmates have been found to be remand inmates which now poses a challenge in providing basic needs.
As of December 5, 2022, the national prison population stood at 58,887 against a prison capacity of 34,000.
The chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi said in a memo to all heads of court stations their attention had been drawn to an unprecedentedly high number of inmates in the prison facilities.
“About 41 percent of this population is constituted of remand inmates,” she said in the memo dated December 8.
Amadi said the high numbers pose challenges to the Prison Service including compromising the provision of basic needs to the inmates.
She directed that courts get a solution to the issue.
She suggested the courts employ the use of non-custodial sentences.
“As far as is practicable, courts should encourage the use of non-custodial Alternative Criminal Justice sanctions in non-serious offenses. These include, but are not limited to affordable fines, discharges (conditional or otherwise), reconciliations, probation and community service orders.”
They were also told to review of bail terms for those in remand.
“Kindly liaise with the local prison authorities who will identify, compile and provide a list of remandee petty offenders and all those who deserve a review of their bail terms.”
“Once the schedule is availed with the assistance of the Prosecuting Counsel, please proceed to mention the respective case files and make orders for review of the bail terms as appropriate,” she said.
The government had in April this year announced nearly 5,000 petty offenders will be released from prison in the coming months in a decongestion program involving the Judiciary and the Prisons services.
The planned release was to run in tandem with the expansion of probation and after-service programs targeting the reintegration of the offenders.
Officials said prisons are struggling with congestion that has been exacerbated by too many petty offenders among the inmates.
Officials said then prisons were also to let go from their custody another 4,620 petty offenders beginning May to decongest the current population of 53, 438 prisoners, which has contrary increased by 5,000 more.
Of the number, 30,689 are convicted 30,689 are convicts while 22,799 are inmates.
Officials have complained about crowding in prisons and the emerging caliber of inmates especially those involved in violent extremism remains a big challenge in Kenya.
They said poor quality and quantity of infrastructure is also a challenge and suggested that stakeholders in the criminal justice system must work together to minimize the number of offenders in jail through the use of alternative imprisonment.
Inadequate, low-quality or dilapidated infrastructure continue to affect all areas of prison management.
This includes poor prisoners’ and staff living and working conditions, and lack of space to carry out rehabilitation programs.
The emerging caliber of inmates especially those involved in violent extremism, who pose a new security threat within prisons, nations, regions and even globally also remains a challenge.
The government will also mobilize chiefs and Assistant County Commissioners (formerly District Officers) and the National Government Administration structure to work closely with probation officers in the prisoners’ integration program.
The government will also reach out to religious leaders and relevant faith-based institutions to complement prisoners’ integration efforts and tap into their network of after-service programs.