By John Ikani
Nearly 5,000 petty offenders are set to be released from Kenyan prisons in a decongestion program between the Judiciary and Prisons Services.
Interior Minister Fred Matiangi says the plan will be rolled out between May and June, citing a lack of resources as the key reason for the move.
“We don’t have the resources to keep the number of offenders that we have. Some were imprisoned because of Sh600 fine for traffic offence! We are keeping some matatu violator who packed on a yellow line. Are we serious?” he quizzed.
“I hope in the next phase of the decongestion campaign between May and June, we will get out about 5000 or so of petty offenders so that we can move them into the probation service program.”
According to research group Prison Insider, the number of convicted inmates in Kenya’s overcrowded jails stands at around 90,000. The number of prisoners on remand is unconfirmed.
Currently, the prisons are holding 6,073 petty offenders while 955 others have less than three years remaining to serve.
Those whose offences range from failure to pay a small fine, to minor parking violations, as well as those with three or fewer years remaining in their sentences can be commutted to community service.