Plans to decongest Kenyan prisons via clemency

The Kenyan Ministry of Home Affairs has announced proposals to improve prison conditions by decongesting the prisons.

The Daily Nation reports that the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ludeki Chweya, said about half of the current prisoners, more than 20,000, could be released by the end of the year through clemency.

Currently Kenyan prisons hold 52,000 prisoners against capacity of 22,000. Those that will be released will be those jailed for petty crimes, and prisoners, including those on long sentences, who can demonstrate that they have changed their ways. While in the past releases were done at the prerogative of the President, this time it will be done after a careful analysis by the Mercy Committee.

The decongestion will allow resources to be concentrated on improving conditions for those who remain in prison, he said. The report did not indicate whether prisoners held pre-trial would be affected by the measures.

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