Many petty criminal offenders in remand could soon be released as the Government moves to cut its spending on remandees, which currently stands at approximately Sh388 million monthly.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is reviewing the cases of petty offenders at the penal and correctional facilities.
The move is also aimed at easing the crowded institutions, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alloys Kemo said.
Mr Kemo said the case review will help the Government save funds that can be directed to other projects.
Speaking at the King’ong’o Maximum GK Prison in Nyeri on Saturday, Mr Kemo said there are at least 54,000 remandees in prison facilities. The government spends an estimated Sh240 per day on each inmate.
This translates to an expenditure of more than Sh12.9 million daily and Sh388 million monthly, which caters for clothing, water and food, among other services.
A team of prosecutors have visited Nairobi Remand Home, Lang’ata Women’s Prison, Kamiti and Kabete juvenile remands, Embu Prison and Nyeri Maximum Prison to review cases to determine which suspects could be released.
“We are visiting the country’s pre-trial remand institutions to find out what problems the remandees are facing in the judicial process. We want to see the petty offenders released,” said Mr Kemo.
He further said the ‘Justice for all’ project aims at decongesting the prison facilities and expediting the hearing of cases.
Mr Kemo said a preliminary analysis found that delay in conclusion of cases was mainly caused by failure of witnesses to appear in court to give evidence and delay in the analysis of exhibits at the government chemist.
“There are other delays caused by shortage of magistrates and judges. Other delays are caused by the case investigating officers, adjournments sought by advocates and slow trial process and bureaucracy,” said Mr Kemo.
He added that the office of the DPP would file a report and recommendations on scaling down the number of remandees.
“We subscribe to the principle that overcrowding in a place of detention, particularly while the inmates await their trial, is not an inevitability. It can be tackled successfully, when all agencies concerned act in concert,” he noted.
Nyeri Assistant Director of the DPP, Job Kaigai, said robbery, sexual offences and capital offences were the most common criminal cases in the region.
“We will look on issues of bail and check on lenient cases. About half of the suspects in the remand will be released on free bond including those facing murder charges,” said Mr Kaigai.