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KENYA:Judiciary to review bond terms, free packed prisons

By JOHN NJOROGE and DIANA KIMANZI

The Judiciary is rooting for review of bail and bond terms for minor offenders in a bid to ease congestion in prisons across the country, Chief Justice (CJ) David Maraga has said.

Justice Maraga has in the past raised concern about the rising number of people held for petty offences.

Justice Maraga, who observed the Sabbath with inmates at the Nakuru GK Prison on Saturday, said the review is necessary since petty offenders are jamming correctional facilities.

“The Judiciary is considering the remedy to ease congestion. The law will be observed before such suspects are released,” he said.

The Nakuru prison holds a total of 1,657 inmates, majority having been remanded after committing petty offences.

Seven hundred and fifty-one are facing short, long and life terms.

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Inmates, especially those detained for minor offences, complained about bond terms and the amounts they have to pay to secure their freedom.

The Chief Justice, who was accompanied by Commissioner General of Prisons Isaiah Osugo, Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi and Nakuru Resident Judge Joel Ngugi, outlined other measures the Judiciary is considering to end crowding in the facilities.

They include pardoning reformed prisoners, through the president’s Power of Mercy, and reforms in defilement and rape cases.

Justice Maraga, the president of the Supreme Court, pointed out that in the recent past, released suspects have committed more serious offences that have seen them return to prison.

He therefore urged prisoners who have completed their terms to reform and shun crime.

“I plead with you, brothers and sisters, to ensure that when you are released, you don’t come back here, ” he said.

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He also encouraged inmates to takes courses in fields such as carpentry in order to better their lives after completing their sentences.

The CJ noted that the Judiciary is determined to clear pending cases, a step expected to save the taxpayer some of the millions of shillings that the government spends on prisons.

He added that judicial officers will be visiting courts across the country to ensure case backlogs are cleared.

The officer in charge of the prison, Japheth Onchiri, admitted that the facility is congested and asked for the CJ’s intervention.

He revealed plans for construction of a church to help prisoners with turnarounds.

The Kenya Prison Service has 108 prisons, 18 of which are for women. Statistics show that the population of inmates has reduced to 53,456 but that remandees account for a large percentage.

Published By: https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Judiciary-to-review-bond-terms/1056-4804926-sp7g3oz/index.html

Photo credits:JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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