Judiciary to review cases of minor offenders in effort to decongest prisons

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Chief Justice David Maraga says the Judiciary is contemplating a review of cases of thousands of remandees in the country`s correctional facilities in the effort to de congest prisons.

Justice Maraga says the decongestion plans that will be conducted within the law seeks to fast track reunions of minor offenders with their families and halve operational costs for the penal institutions which he terms as overstretched.

He was speaking today at the Nakuru GK Prison where he attended a prayer service with more than 1,500 inmates at the facility which has 906 minor offenders in remand-one of the highest on record in the country.

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The Chief Justice said more judges and magistrates will be hired to complement the Directorate of Public Prosecution in expediting pending cases of petty offenses to enable reformed offenders released and reintegrated in society.

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He said some of those to be freed in the program will be committed to community service but made to attend court sessions until their cases are heard and determined.

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Maraga noted with concern that most offenders who are in remand have failed to raise money to facilitate bonds and cash bails saying the Judiciary will review bail and bond terms to make them realistic rather than repressive.

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Jenniffer Kiarie an inmate at the facility called for the review of bail and bond terms and urged the Government to scale up probation services and the judiciary to facilitate Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in minor disputes as a way of mitigating congestion in local prisons.

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