COVID-19: 7000 prisoners released from prisons across Kenya says Matiang’i

At least 7000 prisoners and suspects in remand have been released from correctional facilities across the country in a bid to decongest prisons.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that the move was aimed at lowering the risk of the possible spread of coronavirus within the already crowded facilities.

According to Matiang’i, the Ministry of health has already classified and identified prisons as high-risk areas hence the need to decongest them.

He said that most of those who had been released are petty offenders and those who were nearing completion of their jail time.

Last month Chief Justice David Maraga had ordered for the review of jail terms of petty offenders and improved prisoners with the aim of releasing them from prison as a measure of fighting the spread of coronavirus.

Matiang’i, however, raised fears of prisoners being released finding their way back to prison after committing crimes again.

He noted that there was quite a number of released prisoners who had been re-arrested for committing crimes days after being released from prison.

The judiciary has scaled down its activities over the past two months something which has affected and delayed processing of cases in courts as well as delivery of judgements.

Only urgent and serious cases are being given priority as most of the judicial staff are forced to work from home.

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