An Analysis of the challenges facing Kenyan prisoners during their rehabilitation
Mutemi, Peter Mutui
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The purpose of carrying out this study was to analyse if the Kenya Prison service can effectively fulfil their mandate of rehabilitating offenders while facing challenges of inadequate resources and unprofessional personnel. The specific aim of the study was to assess these challenges and discuss how they affect the personal lives of inmates. The goals of the study were to also develop recommendations based on the research findings. The scope of this research is limited to the challenges facing African and Kenyan prisons. The primary subjects of this study are prisoners. This research therefore encompasses a phenomenal study that aspires to identify what leads to occurrence of a certain phenomenon in this case being the creation of inmates sub-culture from the prisoner’s perspective, reactions and perceptions. The theory of Prisonization guided in answering the research problems. The research design is purely qualitative and will seek to understand the research problems from the perspective of inmates. This design is advantageous because of its ability to provide textual descriptions of how prisoners experience the research issues. Due to the closed and secure nature of Kenyan prisons, the data for this study was collected on a desk review basis from previously published reports, journals, books and internet resources. The study hypothesis was that the challenges facing the Kenya prisons service impede its mandate of rehabilitating convicted criminals and ultimately affects the personal lives of prisoners. The collected data supports the view that the challenges faced by the Kenya prisons service of inadequate resources and incapable personnel limit its operations and corrode its rehabilitation programmes. Inmates who are introduced to the criminal justice system are not availed with the necessary interventions they require hence upon release they remain un-rehabilitated. These unrehabilitated ex-offenders do not acquire necessary skills of social reintegration to help them reunite with society as law abiding citizens hence they remain criminal minded; a factor which causes them to reoffend and return to prison making the Kenya prison service fail in its mandate. The results of the study also reveal that the challenges cause inmates to form societies of social interaction which repudiate interactions between prison management and inmates hence making it difficult for inmates to participate fully in rehabilitation programmes. The study recommends there should be increased support for the Kenya prisons service; courts should also make use of alternative sentencing options and the government of Kenya should invite civil society and the community to participate in reintegration programmes.