Chaplaincy and rehabilitating prisoners: A Case study of Embu and Kamiti Prisons in Kenya
Wambugu, Peter Muriithi
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The problem of crime has always been a challenge in all societies. Many people find themselves prisoners due to unacceptable behaviour aimed at their survival. To those imprisoned, chaplaincy is seen as a key player in rehabilitating prisoners. However, its impact on reconstructing prisoners‟ lives holistically has been limited. Recidivism and prisoners‟ population have continued to escalate unabatedly. As a result, there is weakening of the moral, economic and socio-political fabric of society, hence, adversely affecting the development of a nation. This study was guided by four objectives: First, to examine Biblical teachings regarding rehabilitation of prisoners; Second, to evaluate existing prisoners‟ rehabilitation interventions employed by chaplaincy in EWP in Embu County and KMP in Nairobi County; Third, it seeks to identify the main challenges faced by chaplaincy in rehabilitating prisoners and fourth, to establish appropriate training for chaplains and prison officers. Data was drawn from both primary and secondary sources. The study was informed by Mugambi Reconstruction Theology and Freud‟s Psychoanalytic Theory. Purposive, random, stratified random and snowball samplings were used to select 290 respondents. The data was synthesized thematically and analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods. The data was then coded and processed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).The report generated was presented in frequency tables, pie charts and graphs. The study findings indicated that there were limited relevant Biblical teachings on rehabilitating prisoners due to hermeneutical problems. There were various interventions employed by chaplaincy in rehabilitating prisoners but not holistic and sustainable. The main challenges facing chaplaincy in rehabilitating prisoners were spiritual, political and human. The chaplains and prison officers need for relevant training skills, appropriate personal integrity and professionalism. The study recommended the need for recognizing the unique and necessary contributions of stakeholders, an integrated Biblical model that is reconstructive to prisoners as well as comparative Religious-based studies on chaplaincy within and post prison system. The overall purpose for the chaplaincy in rehabilitating prisoners is to see them reintegrate back into society as fully contributing individuals.