Over 150 petty offenders, among them bhang peddlers have been released and placed on probation in Murang’a County in a strategy to decongest prisons.
The offenders from Murang’a Prisons were released by the Chief Magistrate, Ms Margaret Wachira after their cases were reviewed and proved they have reformed.
The convicts were set to plant trees at Kiambicho government forest as a service to the community.
The released convicts are required to give back to the society through offering free services in the remaining period of their sentences.
They will report to their respective chiefs who will be assigning them duties within the community.
The Murang’a County Probation Officer, Ms Agnes Kamindo said the released convicts were expected to work for the community at least for nine hours weekly.
We involved the community fully in determining whom to release, so that the convicts would be accepted back to the society, added Kamindo.
On her part, the chief magistrate noted that among those released were bhang peddlers, who got lenient sentences after they were treated as first offenders.
If you are brought back to court charged with similar offense, a 10 year sentence or Sh.1 million fine awaits you if found guilty, she said.
She urged them to be peace ambassadors after having gone through reform process while they were serving their jail term.
The Murang’a Prison In-charge, Biston Mandegwa said those released had demonstrated they had reformed and they were given several responsibilities to undertake.
They will, however, first join the community in tree planting in Kiambicho forest, before they are placed under the Community Service Order (CSO), said Madegwa.
The Murang’a East Deputy County Commissioner, Kepha Marube asked the inmates to ensure they are put under surveillance by security officers.
Those who will go back to committing crimes will be re-arrested and brought back to prison, said Marube.
Source: Kenya News Agency