Kenya: Govt Prison Decongestion Plan to Halve Inmate Population – Kindiki

Nairobi — Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki says his ministry is working with the Judiciary to develop alternative sentencing programs including suspended sentences for petty offenders in a bid to decongest prison facilities in the country.

Speaking Monday during his visit to the Mwea GK Prison in Kirinyaga County, Kindiki acknowledged that overcrowding of prisons in the country was a recipe for disaster hence the need for quick intervention.

“What we are having is disastrous. We have almost double the capacity than our prisons are supposed to hold, and it is not fair,” he said.

He committed toa a target of 50 per cent reduction in prison population.

“I want to assure you of my support to make sure that we engage with the judiciary and other stakeholders in the administration of justice to make sure that we reduce congestion in prisons by 50 per cent,” he said.

Revised policy framework

Kindiki further stated that the government has initiated and drafted a new correctional services policy for the country which he says is awaiting cabinet approval.

He expressed optimism that the policy will be operationalized in the next few months.

“The policy that will look at our correctional facilities as places of rehabilitation of offenders and supporting them to reintegrate in the society,” he said.

The Interior CS further pointed out that the government will also utilize the presidential pardon framework.

Kindiki pointed out that President William Ruto had ordered the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee to compile a list of prisoners eligible for pardon as part of measures to decongest correctional facilities.

“In the coming months, the Head of State will be announcing huge number of inmates to be pardoned,” Kindiki said even as he advised prisoners to behave themselves to increase their chances of being released.

The Power of Mercy Advisory Committee is a Constitutional Committee established under Article 133(2) of the Constitution of Kenya and operationalized by the Power of Mercy Act, 2011 with its core mandate to advise His Excellency the President on the exercise of the power of mercy.

Prison welfare

In regard to the welfare of prisoners, Kindiki said that the Government will partner with the private sector to make sure the ‘One Prisoner, One bed, One mattress ‘ initiative is successful.