Role of Perception and Utilization of Aftercare Programmes in Reintegration of Ex-Borstal Inmates in Murang’a County, Kenya
Kagunda, Jean Mwihaki
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Offenders released from confinement face a variety of challenges that may hinder their ability to become law-abiding citizens (Petersilia, 2005). A key feature of successful crime prevention strategies is the attention given to the social reintegration of ex-prisoners into the community and the development of interventions designed to reduce the levels of recidivism and crime. This study endeavoured to find out how perceptions towards the aftercare programmes utilized on ex-borstal (Juvenile delinquent) inmates contributed to their reintegration into the community. The study was carried out in Murang'a County and assessed the perceptions and utilization by ex-offenders of aftercare programmes, intervention measures employed to reintegrate them into the community and the contribution the aftercare programmes have made in reduction of crime and reoffending rates among the ex-borstal inmates. The study employed descriptive survey design with both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Data was gathered from 44 ex-borstal inmates, 44 family members of the ex-borstal inmates and 30 chiefs through an interview. Furthermore, 14 probation officers were given a questionnaire to fill. Data collected from the field was presented in tables and analysed using frequency counts, percentages and mean. The instrument was pretested to ensure its validity and reliability. The first key finding of the study was on the perception and utilization of aftercare programmes among the ex-borstal inmates and it revealed that a majority of the ex-inmates had a positive disposition towards the aftercare programmes offered and they had been interacting with them through the probation office. Secondly, the study found that those ex-borstal inmates who effectively utilized the aftercare programmes offered to them attested to seeing a reduction in crime and recidivism. Thirdly, on the contribution the aftercare programmes had made in the reintegration of the ex-borstal inmates it emerged that reintegration was realized when all stakeholders came together in support of the ex-inmates by accepting them and assisting them to resettle back into the community. Finally, on the challenges facing the implementation of aftercare programmes by probation officers, the study found that there were three specific programmes that the probation officers found difficult to implement as those programmes were beyond their scope and jurisdiction and were dependant on another office to facilitate and ensure implementation. It emerged from the study that the community at large was unaware of the efforts made by probation officers to reintegrate ex-inmates back to the community through aftercare programmes and therefore it was recommended that the Probation and Aftercare Service department intensify awareness on the very important role they play in ensuring that crime and rates of recidivism are reduced. The study further recommended that the two levels of government combine efforts to make the services of drugs and substance abuse treatment centres and mental health clinics readily accessible to ex-borstal inmates who are in need of these services by ensuring that centres and clinics are in every county and the cost be significantly subsidized as most of the ex-inmate’s hail from low income earning homes among other recommendations. The general conclusion of the study was that positive perception and utilization of aftercare programmes contributed well to ex-borstal inmate’s reintegration into the community where at 59% the ex-borstal inmates changed to become good and law-abiding citizens and at 55% avoided reoffending.