Kenya: 7, 000 Petty Offenders Freed From Prison in Decongestion Program

Nairobi — The State Department for Correctional Services in March 2023 freed a total of 7, 281 petty offenders in the ongoing prison decongestion program.

The Principal Secretary in the department Mary Muthoni said that the freed inmates are engaging in community service nationwide.

“The objective of this initiative is to give these individuals a second chance and help them reintegrate into their communities,” she said.

Muthoni underscored that the department is in fact keen on averting an influx of inmates in prisons in collaboration with the courts through the use of the alternative dispute resolution mechanism to ensure petty offenders do not end up in jail.

“We will continue to engage with county governments, private sector entities, church organizations, and individuals to ensure that we decongest our prisons,” she said.

According to prison statistics, as of January 2023, the national prison population stood at 58,887 against the prison’s capacity of 34,000.

Petty offenders who often find it difficult to raise their cash bail or pay the alternative fines imposed by courts specifically comprise the majority of the inmates in Kenya’s prison system.

The high number of inmates in prisons consequently poses a challenge for the department which find it hard in meeting the basic needs of the inmates.

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