Effectiveness of Counseling Services on Rehabilitation amongst Non-Custodial Offenders in Nairobi County, Kenya
Masese, Monyenche Pamela
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n Kenya today, the major threat to development is insecurity and a lot of resources have been used in implementing counseling services to reduce crime rate and enhance security. The Department of Probation and Aftercare service is a criminal justice agency which is mandated to rehabilitate, reintegrate and resettle offenders in the community. It has over 500 Probation officers who have been trained in Psychological Counseling so as to use counseling services in the rehabilitation of non custodial offenders. However statistics available in the department indicate a high rate of absconders and re-offenders. This study therefore, sought to evaluate the effectiveness of counseling services on rehabilitation of non-custodial offenders in the department of Probation and Aftercare service with the aim of providing evidence to guide future therapeutic interventions and rehabilitation programs. It specifically focused on evaluating the effectiveness of individual, group and family counseling services on offender rehabilitation. The study population was 402 which included 372 offenders and all the 30 Probation officers in the four stations of Nairobi. Stratified random sampling was used to select 102 offenders and all the 30 Probation Officers were involved hence the total respondents were 132. The study utilized descriptive research design. Questionnaires were used to collect data which was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings provided empirical evidence useful in prioritizing areas of counseling services to enhance effective offender rehabilitation. On effectiveness of individual counseling service on rehabilitation of noncustodial offenders, the study revealed that 96% of the non-custodial offenders undergoing counseling indicated that the individual counseling services had impacted on their beliefs, feelings and behavior. Most of the respondents rated the linkage between group therapy sessions and their beliefs, feelings and behaviour change as high (mean score=2.27). Further, the study revealed that family counseling services is critical in the success of the rehabilitation process of the offenders serving non-custodial sentences as most of the probationers rated the relevance of family sessions in their rehabilitation as fair (mean=2.46). In addition, 88.9% of the respondents felt that family psycho-social support impacted on offender rehabilitation and crime control. Finally, the study revealed that 83.6%, 61.2% and 65.7% of the offenders undergoing various forms of counseling stated that they have reformed, empowered and progressed respectively. However, the stl.i@yalso revealed that the frequency of meetings between probationers and probation officers was not regular. The study also revealed that the offenders do not have the relevant skills to enable them to be self-reliant economically and socially. On the basis of these findings the study has made recommendations for improvement. The study recommended regular interaction between the probation officers and probationers at least on weekly basis to ensure proper monitoring of the progress of offenders in reintegrating into the society through counseling services. It is proposed that more attendance centres be opened at the sub- location level and introduce mobile offices with aid from special support fund to probationers who are assessed to be of low risk. The probation officers should be considered for specialized professional development to enhance their competence in providing counseling services. To meet further supervision and cost challenges, it is recommended that private service providers be licensed to complement on government efforts in the rehabilitation, and reintegration of offenders. Finally, the government should come up with a clear training policy which will ensure that proper structures are in place for the proper training for all the offenders serving non-custodial sentences. This will see to it that the offenders acquire proper skills which can help them secure employment or become self-employed for self-sustenance.