There is need to come up with alternative means of punishing petty offenders to decongest prisons, Laws Society of Kenya has said.
At the moment the society said prisons have surpassed the current capacity of 34,000 maximum incarceration with the numbers going over 58,897 for all prisons in the country.
For this reason, LSK says the courts ought to advocate for probation and community services for petty offenders.
“We have many people in our prisons. We need to have a conversation that goes beyond offenders and prosecution officers,” LKS President Eric Theuri.
Theuri was speaking in Nairobi during the launch of Annual Legal Awareness week that will run for the whole week.
He appealed to the government through the office of Public Prosecutor to ramp up resources to ensure more deployment of prosecutors so as to fast track some cases.
“The courts still have many pending cases which need urgent attention because justice is being delayed. We are asking the government to channel in more resources to hasten the operation of courts,” explained Theuri.
At the same time, he pledged that the society will train its members citing that they cannot attain sustainability if it cannot administer justice.
On his part, the Director of Public Prosecution [DPP] Renson Ingonga expressed his concerns over the absence of auditing of the criminal justice system in the country.
Ingonga said the courts need to reinvigorate a new way of analyzing crimes in the changing environment when sentencing offenders.
“Kenya also should have the legal structure which will best serve its people. In the 21st century. We should be talking about the progressive judiciary,” stated Ingonga.
Federation of Women Lawyers [Kenya] Executive Director Ann Ireri said the legal week will help the organization reflect on its works which so far have benefited 4 million women and girls in Kenya.
“We have assisted 4 million women and girls who are victims of torture, rape and other forms of crimes get justice,” said Ireri.
The one-week event will bring together LSK and other partners including Kenya Prisons Service, Amkeni Kenya, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime [UNDO].
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Others are the Kenya National Human Rights Commission [KNHRC] and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit [IMLU] among others.