The Effectiveness of sentencing of criminal offenders in Kenya
The main objective of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of sentencing in Kenya. Section 24 of the Penal Code highlights the punishments that can be accorded to an offender once they are convicted of a crime. The sentences range from custodial sentences to non-custodial sentences. This research intends to cover the various forms of punishment that can be issued to offenders mainly focusing on the judicial discretion that is applied with this. This area is of interest to this paper because collected data identifies that the sentencing system in Kenya is irregular and disproportionate. This is characterised by the disparities in the sentences that are given to offenders. Also, judges tend to rely on custodial sentences as a mode of sentencing even in instances where non-custodial sentences would still be effective. The research surrounds the fact that the unlimited discretion given to judges before the introduction of the Sentencing Policy Guidelines (2016) may have contributed to this irregularity and this disproportion. The Sentencing Policy Guidelines have put into place laws that act as a guide and that check the exercise of jurisdiction by the judicial officers. This paper looks into how this has been done and recommends the reforms and changes that could be done to the guidelines themselves in order to make the criminal justice system effective in the end. This study has also marked the progress of Kenyan law from a system of indeterminate sentencing to a determinate sentencing. The paper recommends the working together of the various players in the criminal justice system and evaluation of the sentencing guidelines as the way forward for the criminal justice system.