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Govt to pardon 400 inmates to decongest prisons

10 October 2013, 17:00 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - The government will free 400 inmates from King’ong’o and Nanyuki GK prisons to decongest the prison facilities.

The pardon will target those serving a sentence of less than three years or those remaining with jail terms of similar period.

According to Nyeri region deputy registrar of High Court, Vincent Nyakundi, the pardon is under the judicial transformation program.

While addressing press in his office at Nyeri Law Courts Thursday, Nyakundi said the facilities are overpopulated hence the need for decongestion.

He said his office has received a list of 300 prisoners to be freed from King’ong’o, while Nanyuki will pardon 100 on October 18.

“The program is only targeting law offenders held for petty issues while major offences including sexual offences, corruption, terrorism, motor vehicle theft will not benefit,” he asserted.

Nyakundi noted that the inmates to be pardoned will be vetted by the probation office since various factors will be considered before their release.

He said area probation officers have been tasked with investigating whether individual inmates can be re-accepted in the community and family.

He added that some will be released completely while others will be subjected to community service orders (CSOs) to complete their punishments out of prison facilities.

The registrar also mentioned that the judicial service week which kicks off October 14 at the Nyeri High Court will deal with appeals of criminal cases which have backlogged in courts.

Nyakundi said the three High Court judges based in Nyeri will address 75 criminal appeals for five consecutive days putting aside other matters to clear the backlog. They will also receive reinforcement from a Nairobi judge, Lady Justice Rose Ougo Edwina Atieno.

He however attributed the backlog to election petitions which were supposed to be dealt with and determined within six months as provided by the constitution.

“Election petitions halted all matters but the judiciary has devoted a whole week to clear them and uphold justice. Nyeri region will have four judges - two-judge bench in each court - to ensure the cases are cleared,” said Nyakundi who is also a Resident Magistrate.

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