The fate of 25 inmates currently serving life imprisonment after they were convicted and sentenced on conclusion of robbery with violence offences by the lower courts in Kiambu will now be determined by the probation reports expected in court this month.
The reports are currently being worked on by a host of probation officers and are expected to be filed at the Kiambu courts on July 2 , 10 and July 17,2020 after which the inmates fate will be known.
The deputy sub-county Probation Officer Nyachae Mogambi while talking to KNA from his office Wednesday revealed that the use of technology had helped fasten the compiling of the reports as the inmates did not necessarily have to be produced in court owing to the prevailing Covid 19 pandemic that has forced the government to impose health protocols to prevent it from spreading.
“By using the internet, the inmates while in Kamiti are connected to us while we are seated in our offices Maximum prison and we communicate with them. They are even able to show us the testimonials of their achievements while serving the sentences,” said Mr Nyachae.
These achievements come in handy as the magistrate assigned the case can confirm that the inmate had reformed, is on the right path to recovery and will be able to engage in gainful economic activity to fend for themselves thus avoiding to be problematic to the community when released.
During the zoom sessions, the inmates whose cases were returned to the courts for review late last year are able to give us the contacts of their relatives who have been visiting them and they hope to return and stay with them.
“For example some will tell you ‘my mother was here two or three months ago and this is testimony enough that they still love them and need them back home,” he said.
He said using the contacts, the probation officers are able to follow up the relatives who are thereafter invited to the office and are also interviewed so that they provide useful information concerning the condition on the ground and generally the community and the safety of their relative who is behind bars.
“Some will be frank enough and say the people are still annoyed with them and if they returned to their families, they will not have peace for example revealing they have land in distant place where they intend to relocate once released,” he noted.
By talking to relatives, the probation officers are able to advise the court on the way forward on either releasing them or keeping them in prison for their own good. However, the decision entirely depends on the court and the mitigation by the inmates.
Mr Nyachae further noted that the input of the chief is very important as they know the people in their jurisdiction stressing, “If the chief who knew the inmate has retired, the one in the office is able to give the contact of his predecessor who is also interviewed and gives the officers information that will help in the rehabilitation of the inmate in case they are released.
He said in incidents where the victim’s relatives have migrated, it becomes difficult to trace and engage them on their views concerning the possibility of releasing their kin.
The Regional coordinator of Probation services Margaret Nyabuto is of the view that those who are pardoned be placed on probation or community service order for some time before they are let back to the society.
She told KNA from her office Wednesday that probation supervision was important and they were able to counsel them and monitor to help them in the recovery journey thus helping them to fit back in their communities who are at times still charged.
By Lydia Shiloya