The effects of imprisonment on inmates in Kenya: the case of Industrial Area remand and Lang'ata Women's Prisons
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Abstract:

This study was an attempt to establish the effects of imprisonment on inmates in Kenya. These effects were classified into five groups: Social, Economic, Psychological, Physical and Health effects. The study was conducted at two prisons; Industrial Area Remand and Lang'ata Women's prisons. This research was grounded on the assumptions of the classical theory of punishment that states that crime is a rational behaviour that individuals enter into knowing all the consequences of their action. This involves a cost benefit analysis; pleasure versus pain. The choice is directed towards the maximization of pleasure. On the other hand, the rehabilitation model asserts that these choices are not a matter of free will but are influenced by an individual's personal surrounding, psychological make-up and biological composition. This study was descriptive in design and used both probability and non-probability sampling procedures. The respondents under study were 58 in number; 34 males and 24 females. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used in this study. Qualitative methods employed the use of personal interviews while quantitative method was illustrated through the use of questionnaires; both open ended and closed questions. The data revealed that there existed variations on these effects of imprisonment on inmates by age, period of confinement, gender, marital status, occupation and parental status. The study found out that older male inmates of the ages of 51-60 were assaulted the most than younger inmates while female respondents of ages of 18-25 years had been assaulted the most followed closely by those aged 26-40 of whom 26.7% had been assaulted thereby portraying the physical effects of imprisonment. The period of confinement also had an impact on the psychological effect of imprisonment since both male inmates and female who had been sentenced for longer sentences were psychologically affected the most by imprisonment than short term prisoners. The study also revealed that gender also plays a significant role more so in the psychological and not in the physical effects of imprisonment. 87.5% of the female inmates were psychologically affected by imprisonment while 73.5% of the male inmates were affected psychologically. Male inmates who were either single or separated and female inmates who were either married, separated or widowed according to this study are the ones who are mostly affected by imprisonment. The study recommends the need for increased visitations to mitigate the social effects on the inmates. There is also need for the recruitment of more wardens to curb the physical effects such as assault and harassment. The study also recommends that the government should build more houses for the wardens and offer them a better remuneration package. Some prisoners had not gotten a chance to learn skills due to unavailability of prison industries. The study recommends that the government should build more industries and come up with a better curricular of courses that is in tandem with the dynamic business environment. Counsellors should also be recruited to counsel the stressed and depressed inmates. This maybe achieved through partnership with non-governmental organisations that provide such assistance. There is also the need to construct adequate clinics in the prison to provide effective healthcare to the inmates. The study also recommends that prisoners of the same age group should be housed together to discourage victimization where old inmates harass younger inmates. Finally, the study recommends the establishment of an oversight committee to address any challenges that arise from the inmates or from the wardens.

 

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