A board member Power of Mercy Taskforce Dr. Scolastica Adeli has called on Kenyans to accept and support ex-convicts who have been released from prison either from pardon, parole or having served their sentence.
Adeli said prisoners come from the community and therefore they are expected to go to the same community once they leave prison, adding that they undergo a rigorous process before they are released.
Speaking during public hearings for the power of mercy (POMAC) policy frame work and the amendment bill in Iten, the board member said very few offenders released under the power of mercy program have reverted back to crime.
Wilfred Nyawanga from the state department of correctional services said the release of the offenders helps in saving money from the tax payers saying there are approximately 55,000 prisoners in the country with each consuming Sh250 in a day.
“If these offenders who have learnt some skills in jail are allowed to go home once they reform, they will be able to fend for themselves, thus save the tax payers money for upkeep in prison,” he said.
Nyawanga however said those released under POMAC are a specific category of prisoners citing people with terminal illnesses, the mentally ill, women with children, the aged and skilled workers who have reformed.
Stephen Gitau from the secretariat said once the POMAC bill becomes an act, beneficiaries will have their criminal records expunged which will help many especially youths who may want to access jobs and other government services.
“We have highly skilled youths in prison who committed crimes, but after realizing the enormity of their actions have reformed, but their criminal records still remain with the police therefore cannot get a certificate of good conduct,” he said.
However, the stakeholders said such records should not be expunged immediately, but after a period of three years and above, saying some show remorse just to get out of prison then revert back to their criminal activities.
By Alice Wanjiru and Amos Kipyego