Correlates of Victimization of Prisoners in Maximum Security Prisons within Nairobi County in Kenya
Makokha, Chrisantus Makuba
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Studies indicate that victimization is practiced in the free world and in Kenyan prisons. This vice in prisons is a human rights issue. It affects the security of a prison which may impact negatively on prisoners‟ rehabilitation. However, the studies undertaken do not focus on the forms, nature and factors that predispose prisoners to victimization in prisons in Nairobi County in Kenya which this study set out to establish. The study used survey research design and was conducted in Kamiti and Langata prisons in Nairobi County, Kenya. Simple random sampling was used to draw a sample size of 340 from prisoners for interviews. Purposive sampling was used to draw 16 respondents from among prisoners for Focus Group Discussions and 10 Key Informants from among officers. Data was collected using an interview schedule, Focus Group Discussions and Key Informants interview guides. The study was anchored on the general strain theory which says that an individual resorts to crime due to pressure by others to his or her legitimate means of achieving goals. It was also based on routine activities theory which states that in order for a crime to occur, there must be motivated offenders, suitable targets and absence of capable guardians of persons or property. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) with which descriptive and inferential statistics were employed. Qualitative data was analyzed using themes and content analysis. The study findings indicate that victimization is rampant at 100% for male and 88% for female prisoners. Verbal abuse is the most common (79.4%) form of victimization. Majority of females (69.23%) and males (67.10%) were physically abused between noon and 6 pm. Age is a determining factor for sexual victimization as most (30.2%) sexually assaulted male prisoners were those aged 18- 25 years. Females aged 35 years and over were not sexually victimized. Physical victimization is as a result of deals among inmates going sour. Majority of male (72.7%) and female (65%) victims did not report cases because they felt no action would be taken. Most (60%) males were victimized in the first week of their admission in prison while 56% females were victimized in the first month. It is recommended that the prison administration separates newly admitted and young prisoners from hard core, older criminals. The prison administration should provide redress mechanisms for victims and also develop more programmes to keep inmates occupied during the day.