ADOPT ADR TO CURB CONGESTION IN PRISONS - PS CORRECTIONAL SERVICES TO THE JUDICIARY
By Martha Munyambu
The State Department for Correctional Services Principal Secretary, Ms. Salome M. Beacco has urged the Judiciary to use Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism to help decongest Prisons.
Speaking during her official tour of Western Kenya - Kakamega Prison, Ms Beacco observed that a large number of inmates occupying the correctional facilities are remandees. She further advocated for the use of Community Service Orders, Probation Orders and other non-custodial measures to address the situation.
The Correctional Services PS observed that some of the cases can be solved at the community level through the National Government Administrative Officers.
"The major problem facing our Prisons is congestion. In Kakamega Main Prison for example, we have realised that more than half of the inmates are remandees and so we urge the Judiciary to rethink their approach towards remandees and make use of alternative dispute resolution mechanism, community service orders, or probation orders to reduce the congestion in prisons", she said.
The PS called upon various stakeholders to join hands with the department and assist the Correctional Institutions in equipping the existing Workshops to enable the inmates acquire the best skills that will help them reintegrate back to society upon release. She added that Correctional Services has moved from punishment to rehabilitation and reformation of offenders and thus there is a need to equip them with the very best skills that will enable them to comfortably employ themselves after their release.
She indicated that there are different vocational trainings currently offered in Prisons and borstal institutions across the country such as carpentry, tailoring, welding, and crocheting among others.
"We need to equip these inmates so that when they go out there, they can take advantage of the hustler fund to start off businesses and earn a living", said the PS.
She pointed out that most inmates are willing to go back to school for formal education and she called upon well-wishers to come on board and support to pay for their school fees.
Edited by Humphrey Young and Pili Chimerah