The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Prisoners Fear Being Released

Prisoners preparing to rejoin the public after completing their custodial sentences at the Embu Prison are expressing fear over their lives. The prisoners said some of their prison mates who have been released in the past have been lynched by the public on suspicion of being involved in crimes after their release. The inmates beleive members of public conclude that released prisoners have been involved in serious crimes just because they are from prison. They said prisoners do undergo reforms and various skills to enable them earn a just living and asked the public to accept them back after their release. They said they are completely reformed and ready to be assimilated back to the community.

They were speaking when over 96 inmates from the Embu G.K Prison and Women Prison who have been serving three years or below were released after being found to have reformed in an ongoing country wide exercise. Embu Chief Magistrate, Margaret Wachira, the Prison's Officer Aggrey Otieno, and other members of a board charged with looking into decongestion of local prisons said due diligence is done to ensure released prisoners are reformed. They said the inmates are screened, counseled and the community consulted before and after the release of the prisoners.

One hundred and sixty eight prisoners have been released from various prisons in Eastern Province since June the exercise. The convicts released are those who have been serving what the court describes as non serious crimes and have been assessed and found to have been reformed. Most of them have been referred to community services where they will be working in various public institutions under supervision of probation officers to complete their remaining terms.

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