A section of residents of Homa-Bay County have proposed a legal review to enable ex-convicts who have reformed secure certificates of good conduct.
The residents proposed that former inmates who have reformed should have their criminal records expunged by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to enable them secure job opportunities in the future.
The reforms were articulated yesterday in a Homa-Bay hotel where the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC) held a consultative forum with residents.
The joint secretary of the committee Stephen Gitau said the taskforce was holding a series of meetings across 25 selected counties to gather views on the proposed draft Power of Mercy Policy framework and draft Power of Mercy (amendment Bill, 2022).
Gitau noted that majority of residents have proposed the expunging of criminal records to be implemented after the proposed bill is passed into law.
He said clearance by DCI was among prominent discussions during previous meetings where they collected views from Kenyans in other counties. “After conviction, records are kept by the DCI and it becomes impossible for a convicted person to get a certificate of good conduct,” he said.
Getting formal employment currently requires one to have a certificate of good conduct from DCI among other requirements and conviction is likely to deny one an opportunity of securing a job.
Gitau noted that another major concern among Kenyans was how to incorporate reformed convicts back into society, noting it had been established that some convicts do not want to go back to their families even after being set free after reforming in prison.
Gitau said this is brought by stigma among convicts and rejection by the society adding in some communities, murder convicts are likely to be rejected when they walk out of the prison walls.
“The fact that a community where one committed an offence rejects him or her does not form the basis for the convict to be denied a pardon,” he said.
Some Kenyans want the government to have a multispectral approach in handling this situation where agencies like the probation service and the national government administrators should educate communities to reintegrate back ex-convicts to the community.
Mr James Mumbi from the Kenya Law Reforms Commission said convicted prisoners should have their views considered before they are released. “They need to be economically empowered so that they can find a source of income,” he said.
Other Kenyans proposed the review of legal framework for handling convicts who are mentally unstable.