Assessing the effectiveness of custodial sentence in Kenya
Muiruri, Sylvia Nyathira
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The issue of effectiveness of custodial sentence in Kenya is one that needs to be analyzed especially since imprisonment is expected to be used as a means of rehabilitating offenders and in the end, reduce the crime problem in the society. The main reason for conducting this study is based on the claims that there is an increase in the likelihood of offenders released from prison reoffending. The media in the past has highlighted stories of the public sending released inmates trooping back to prison because they have reoffended within a short period after release. To do this, the study sought to analyze the effectiveness of custodial sentence as a form of punishment in the criminal justice system in Kenya. The specific aim was to assess the legal framework for sentencing in Kenya and discuss the utilization of the types of sentences in Kenya. This study is limited to prisons in Kenya, and the primary focus is the criminal justice system. The study makes the assumptions that; there are similar factors that may impact reoffending by both men and women and the prisons are not effective due to the Over utilization of custodial sentence in Kenya. A lot of focus in the past has been on the situation within the prisons in terms of living conditions, however this has failed to adequately address the cause of the ineffectiveness of prisons. This is because there is limited information on the factors affecting prison management and this may be attributed to the somewhat closed nature of the prions. It was therefore against this background that the main objective of the study was to assess the factors outside prisons that lead to the ineffectiveness of the custodial sentence. To achieve this, the study employed a research design that is qualitative mainly through the collection of data from published reports, journals, books and internet resources. The theory of utilitarianism particularly the objective proposed that is rehabilitation is the backdrop of this study. A major finding of the study was that prisons are faced with the problem of overcrowding as the number of inmates in prison has by far surpassed the expected capacity. This in turn has led to a burden placed over prison staff and strains on the facilities and therefore the objective of rehabilitation is difficult to achieve. The study therefore recommends that some measures need to be employed to ensure that the courts increase the use of alternatives to imprisonment and the legislature introduces early release measures such as parole.