Stop discrimination against ex-convicts, society urged

The Society has been urged to embrace ex-convicts once they have served their jail terms.

Kisumu County Director of Probation, William Otieno said ex-convicts have been facing rejection from members of the society and even from family members.

Otieno said that a number of them were even physically abused by their communities while others were excommunicated altogether.

He however asked for collective collaboration by family members as a move of enabling the ex-convicts to be more productive members in the community.

Speaking to KNA in his office in Kisumu on Wednesday, the Director said officers in-charge of Probation usually conducted thorough examination on convicts they thought deserved to serve their remaining part of their sentence on probation basis.

The public should not harass them as they are still serving their sentences on a non-custodial plan, said Mr. Otieno.

Kisumu County has a probation program that monitors behaviour change in convicts who are about to end their sentences, he added.

He added that the department also has an after care plan that examines the conduct of released inmates and a psychiatric wing that assesses the behaviour of convicts who committed crimes while in senile state.

Otieno observed that there were cases where ex-convicts got totally rejected by their community despite reports and assessments showing they had reformed.

He singled out a past case in Kakamega where a man who had been released after serving 28 years in jail for murder was beaten up by a mob after being spotted at a worship centre.

Even after the man was rescued by the police, the mob was still baying for his blood. The man was later taken to live with his maternal relatives, he said.

Otieno, who is also the County Rehabilitation Officer, disclosed that the County currently has 331 convicts who were enrolled in the rehabilitation phase.

He also confided that for those that could not be absorbed back by the society, the government has established Probation Hostels that would accommodate them.

Otieno nonetheless appealed to the public to help in reconstructing the character of ex-convicts, arguing that they have been trained in trades like masonry and joinery and they have potential to be productive members in the community.

He said the rehabilitation program was one among the government’s initiatives to decongest the Kenyan prisons besides also providing social inquiry reports to courts and other penal institution in a bid to prevent crime.

Source: Kenya News Agency