Re­peat of­fend­ers sig­nal jail sys­tem needs re­form

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

Re­ports that a num­ber of pris­on­ers re­leased in the big­gest sin­gle par­don of petty of­fend­ers in Kenya in re­cent years are back in po­lice cells, less than a week af­ter Mashu­jaa Day, re­flect badly on the pe­nal sys­tem’s pri­or­i­ties.

Government of Kenya Pris­ons should re­ha­bil­i­tate con­victs, turn­ing them into bet­ter cit­i­zens af­ter they pay their debt to so­ci­ety.

The GK Pri­son sys­tem is in dire need of re­form, re­ex­am­in­ing the pur­poses and ob­jec­tives of mass in­car­cer­a­tion.

Do GK Pris­ons pre­pare con­victs to re­join so­ci­ety? Are ar­ti­sanal skills still honed in the pris­ons, where many a car­pen­ter, elec­tri­cian and plumber in decades past first re­ceived train­ing?

There was a time that GK Pris­ons stands at ASK shows around the coun­try used to win prizes for the qual­ity of fur­ni­ture on dis­play, all of it made by pris­on­ers.

Re­leas­ing a pris­oner early should not con­sist of merely giv­ing them Sh100 matatu fare. Equip­ping them for life be­yond bars should be a cru­cial part of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

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