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Govt Announces Changes In Punishing Petty Offenders



Govt Announces Changes In Punishing Petty Offenders

The department called for a review of inmates who were sentenced to jail after being found guilty of petty offences

President William Ruto’s government has announced changes in terms of punishing those who commit petty offences in the country.

Speaking during a tour of Nakuru GK Prison, Principal Secretary (PS) Mary Muthoni of the State Department of Correctional Services revealed on Monday, January 30 that petty offenders will be subjected to community service as opposed to a jail term.

In a bid to decongest prisons in the country, Muthoni further noted that her department called for a review of inmates who were sentenced to jail after being found guilty of petty offences, in a bid to reduce the population of prisons.

PS Correction Services, Mary Muthoni during a visit to the Nakuru GK Prison on January 30, 2023. /FILE

“People coming in for petty offences should be given an alternative way to serve their sentencing like being given community work rather than having them behind bars,” she noted.

Muthoni was on a tour of different prison facilities in the country to find out their state and establish ways of improving the standards for both prisoners and prison wardens.

“I know that the welfare of prisoners for a long time has not been the best. We are looking into it and ensuring that we keep to the UN standards,” she stated.

She further promised to have the affordable housing project benefit prison wardens in various parts of the country.

In addition, she revealed that the Judiciary was also working on reviewing cases of mothers convicted or remanded in prison with their children so as to ensure that the children do not grow up in correctional facilities.

“In Nakuru Prison, we have 10 children currently living in prison while nationwide as of today morning, we had 300 children,” she added.

During her tour of Embu GK prison on Tuesday, January 3, she stumbled upon a four-day-old child who was in the company of the mother at the prison facility, among the many cases that have seen mothers accompanying children in detention facilities.

She expressed fear that the children were being exposed to communicable diseases as well as the stigmatization that comes with a child growing up in facilities only meant to detain criminals.

Muthoni added that she was committed to ensuring that children, especially those born in prison, grow up in an environment whereby they feel at home while being surrounded by relatives who accommodate them and engage them through childhood activities.

She however made it clear that she was not pushing for the release of offenders who are parents to newborns without following the due process just because of the sympathy that comes with having children.

Muthoni also moved to start daycare units for children below the age of four who were accompanying their mothers in prison, reaffirming her department’s commitment to have former inmates accepted back into society after completing their jail sentences.

Entrance to Embu GK Prison. /THE STAR