Sexual Assault and its Effects on Male Prisoners’ Rehabilitation: A Case of Kamiti Medium Prison, Kiambu County- Kenya
Arum, Mildred Auma
Ngare, Grace Wamue
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Purpose: This article examines the effects of sexual assault on male prisoners’ rehabilitation in Kamiti Medium Prison. It highlights underlying effects of sexual assault that negatively interfere with rehabilitation of male prisoners by exploring prevalence of sexual assault, effectiveness of the Kenya Prisons Rehabilitation Program on sexual assault survivors and perpetrators and the coping mechanisms employed by survivors of sexual assault in Kamiti Medium Prison. Methodology: The study employed descriptive survey research design guided by Travis Hirschi’s social control theory and the risk-need-responsivity (RNR) model to interrogated sexual assault, a prison gender dynamic of power and control, and its underlying effects on male prisoners’ rehabilitation. Key informant interview schedules and semi-structured questionnaires were used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data from respondents identified through stratified and purposive sampling. Quantitative and qualitative data was then coded and analyzed respectively to establish the effects of sexual assault on male prisoners’ rehabilitation in Kamiti Medium Prison. Results: Findings indicate that sexual assault in Kamiti Medium Prison is a trivialized gender concern despite it being rampant and its effects adversely affecting rehabilitation processes of victims and perpetrators. Moreover, there are no socially acceptable coping structures for survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault and the available rehabilitation programmes are not need-based. This allows for negative and socially unacceptable coping mechanisms that worsen the effects of sexual assault and reinforce prisoners’ criminal mentality thereby contributing to their non-rehabilitation. Unique contribution to theory, practice and policy: This study departs from the many others which have largely focused on prevalence, nature and general effects of sexual assault, including possible mitigations. It provides a deeper understanding on effects of sexual assault and its impact on male prisoners’ capacity to be rehabilitated, an under researched field. Findings add knowledge to the existing literature and will benefit policy makers in the criminal justice system in addressing policy gaps like absence of a correctional policy and review of the Prison Act to synchronize with the Sexual Offences Act. Lastly, findings also form basis for future researches on the subject i.e. it recommends two studies, one, to interrogate whether those involved in prison sexual assault were imprisoned for the same crime and two, to explore the rate at which prisoners involved in prison sexual assault tend to reoffend.