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Embrace alternative dispute resolutions-PS Safina

The State Department of Correctional Services Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe wants Kenyans to embrace the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms to settle conflicts amicably outside the courts.

Speaking during a validation of a draft Power of Mercy Bill in Kisumu County, the PS who was represented by Secretary Administration, State department of correction Wilfred Nyagwanga, advocated for the use of ADR mechanisms to resolve petty offences and family disputes.

The PS discouraged litigations which consume a lot of time and resources through long court processes thus delaying and/or denying justice to citizens.

“Keeping petty offenders in prison is tantamount to worsening the poor conditions in the overpopulated facilities,” said the state official adding that meeting the upkeep needs for the high number of inmates is a burden to the taxpayer.

She disclosed that the Correctional Department spends over Sh.15 million daily on upkeep expenses for the 55,000 inmates in various prison facilities across the country.

The government, he said, could channel the colossal sums of money to other state institutions and projects to improve service delivery to citizens.

The Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC) during an engagement meeting with the stakeholders to review the laws relating to the exercise of Power of Mercy under Article 133 of the Constitution affirmed that the ADR system would not only decongest the prisons but also prevent incarceration of certain offenders whose crime do not warrant imprisonment.

ADR is an out-of-court mechanism that assists the disgruntled parties come to an understanding with the use of an independent and neutral third party. This method of justice administration has gained momentum in the country since it is efficient, accessible, faster and cheaper.

By Robert Ojwang’

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