Kenya has 99 prisons that hold about 40,000 to 50,000 prisoners at any time. Out of this number, about 40% are held in remand awaiting their trials. The judicial system itself has a backlog of over 800,000 cases awaiting allocation for their hearing dates. Such challenges of serious prison crowding and overburdened justice systems are not unique to Kenya but they confront all nations and economies. Offenders are subjected to inefficient and overburdened justice systems and victims receive little help recovering from the trauma of crime
Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational. It looks at the offender as a member of society who needs to be integrated back to society and explores methodologies that can be implemented to ensure that society is willing to receive him back.
The programme also recognizes that Kenya’s prison system is facing a number of challenges in ensuring that its systems are in keeping with international and local human rights obligations. In this regard, the programme seeks avenues for partnership in assisting the government as it strives to achieve the standard required. The programme therefore is geared at working with government agencies to resolve some of the legal challenges that offenders may be facing.
Restorative Justice will also work towards providing legal aid and support to offenders where possible. This can only be achieved through partnership with legal organizations and the governments National Legal Aid Programme so that prisoners are aware of their rights and obligations under the law. The programme will work toward setting up legal aid camps and providing general legal education to prisoners.
5 Goals and Strategic Objectives
- Creation of awareness of the rights and needs of prisoners
- Provide education, motivation and material support to prisoners
- To train and sensitize both society and prisoners on the value of restorative justice
- Provide capacity building and income generating activities for prisoners
- Strengthen relations with the prison department
- Create a support network for prisoners that include regular prison visits.
- Establishment of a halfway home for prisoners
- Mitigate against negative impact of parental imprisonment on their children
- Create a strong working relationship with like minded donors and other organizations
- Overall development of Kenya’s criminal justice system
- Protections of rights of both victims and prisoners