Effects of Inmate Characteristics and Institutional Capacity on Prison Rehabilitation Outcomes in Selected Prisons in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Ondigo, Queenter A.
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Various studies continue to report minimal or negligible impact of rehabilitation on reoffending and reintegration to community environment. More specifically, the proportion of sustained prison releases reduces rapidly within the first three years largely because of re-arrests, re-convictions and return to prison and the rate is even more acute in developing nations and Sub-Sahara Africa. In view of this persistent challenge, this study examined rehabilitation outcomes of inmates particularly in respect to their prerelease readiness to return to lawful livelihoods and community environment. Life course perspective and socio-economic vulnerability theory were used to identify phases of life associated with socio-economic vulnerabilities leading to increased crime risks, rehabilitation challenges and reoffending tendencies. Specific objectives of the study were; to identify characteristics of the prison inmates and related risks, to examine rehabilitation outcomes and readiness towards prison release, to identify types of rehabilitation practices and usefulness, to examine the institutional capacity and sustainability, to examine the influence of inmate characteristics on the rehabilitation outcomes, and to identify key challenges affecting prison rehabilitation programmes and necessary interventions. The study applied cross-sectional survey design. The target population for the study were 800 inmates serving their sentences in Nairobi Industrial Area Medium Prison, Nairobi West Prison and Langata Women Prison all based in Nairobi County. The three institutions were better placed to provide the inmate with extensive rehabilitation including industrial attachment and experience because of their proximity to the largest industrial area. Sample size of 286 was determined using Krejcie and Morgan, (1970). Both qualitative and quantitative data were obtained through key informants, FGDs and survey questionnaire. Analyses of data with the use of SPSS included descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations and regression analyses. Results indicated that majority of the inmates were young, with limited education, vulnerable occupations and lived within extreme poverty. Considerable proportion of the inmates were women and had limited family support and social capital. Rehabilitation outcomes were substantially limited or inadequate in all indicators including compliance to institutional rules, participation of inmates in the design of their respective rehabilitation plans, access to apprenticeship, engagement on productive activities among others. The study concluded that rehabilitation practices should be guided by life course perspective, socio-economic vulnerability and desistance theory. The study recommends review and expansion of prison rehabilitation to; strengthen rehabilitation along the UN guidelines including 2015 minimum rules and the various roadmaps, ensure provision of adequate resources particularly in terms of personnel, facilities, equipment and budgetary allocations, incorporate and expand prison industries in order to expand apprenticeship, work experience and to generate revenue and adopt a rehabilitation plan for each inmate incorporating post-release support follow up.