Mandera GK Prison has released 18 inmates as part of the ongoing programme to decongest prisons in this covid-19 times.
Nine of the released prisoners among were about to finish their term the other nine were petty offenders.
Early this year, in response to Covid-19 impact to prison population, the government through Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government agreed to undertake country wide prison decongestion.
Speaking during the event which took place at Mandera GK Prison compound, Mandera court Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Wasike said the 18 were released following orders from Garissa high Court.
“Following government directives to decongest prisons in the country, Garissa High Court Judge Abida Aroni has directed we release the 18 prisoners,” said Peter Wasike adding that this would help curb spread of Covid-19 in prisons.
He said three inmates among 9 petty offenders released Monday would be under Department of Probation and after care services and their sentences would be reviewed by High Court in favour of community service.
He urged them to behave well so as not to return to prison warning that their individual assessment would be done frequently. The other six were placed in different government offices to offer community service.
“Kindly go and behave well, go and do what you have learnt here in the prison, be law abiding citizen, be ambassadors of peace in our country,” added Wasike.
Mandera GK Prison Officer-in-charge Francis Mulandi thanked government for its efforts to decongest prisons. He also warned those released not to misuse the chance and instead be productive citizens who contribute to nation building.
Mandera County Probation Services Director Mohammed Sheikh said the government considered period served, prisoner behaviour when on incarceration and the nature of offence committed when releasing the inmates.
Mohammed added that inmates whose sentence would be reviewed to non-custodial service would be under supervision of probation officers with assistance from government administrators at the grassroots.
The prisoners were happy and thanked the government for releasing them as they looked forward unite with their families. They all vowed to be law abiding citizens.
“I am very happy, it’s like I was today born today, everything in me is new, I have learnt a lot from prison, I will start my Jua kali in Mandera, indeed prison is not a punishment area but a rehabilitation center,” said Ismael Mohammed.
The government aims at decongesting more than 6, 000 prisoners this year.
By Charles Matacho