Leaders in Kitui County today expressed their satisfaction in a draft on the power of mercy policy amendment Bill, 2022 which is set to be tabled before the incoming 13th Parliament.
The county leaders noted that the Power of Mercy policy framework is addressing teething issues aimed at helping offenders to reform once they are back in the communities as well give them a chance to be of benefit to their respective families.
The leaders were speaking on Tuesday during a forum for stakeholders on the validation exercise on the draft; power of Mercy policy framework amendment Bill, 2022, held at Kitui town.
The county stakeholders led by the Kitui Central Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Dorcas Rono, stressed that the Bill once enacted will help in decongesting prisons across the county.
“We have many young people serving jail sentences, where some were bread winners for their families. The Bill once passed by Parliament, will give a golden opportunity to the offenders to reform at their respective communities as they simultaneously provide for their families,” said the deputy County Commissioner.
Rono further observed that the young prisoners are energetic and the power of Mercy amendment Bill will give them opportunity to be involved in nation building outside jail.
“The Government is spending a lot of funds on feeding prisoners at GK prisons hence the Bill will help reduce its expenditure by a noticeable margin hence save on costs. The funds could therefore be channeled to other government projects,” the deputy County Commissioner added.
The draft Power of Mercy policy framework is prepared by a task force appointed by the president to review laws relating to the exercise of the Power of Mercy under article 133 of the constitution.
The secretary to the nine-member team for the Power Of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC) task force Stephen Gitau, while addressing the stakeholders meeting noted that, the power bestowed to the advisory Committee will be formed as per the policy framework.
He explained that the Advisory Committee will be mandated on advising and recommending on offenders who are eligible for pardon.
“According to the draft, the offenders eligible to be pardoned are any person who is a convicted prisoner and is not serving a non-custodial sentence and or having a pending court process. In such a case, they can apply for a pardon,” the draft reads in part.
The draft further states that the offender must have served at least one third of the sentence, and that those on life sentence must have served for at least five years.
The task force secretary disclosed that the draft verification needed approval from at least 24 Counties, noting that his team was already done with 13 of them.
“The validation of the policy framework is scheduled to be completed by September this year, before it is taken to parliament before the year ends,” he stressed.
By Denson Mututo