Impact of prison reforms on rehabilitation of offenders in Kenya: the case of Naivasha Maximum Security Prison
ABSTRACT The study aims at establishing the impact of prison reforms on rehabilitation of offenders. Specifically, the study seeks to establish the chief drivers of prison reforms in Kenya and how opening up prisons to ‘outside contact’ has contributed to behavior change among inmates. Prisons are part of wider public sector and there has been efforts world over to reform public institutions with a view to improving service delivery and management practices. In this regards, it is expected that all reform agenda meet the expectations or objectives set as this is where success is pegged on. It is also expected that prisoner’s behavior would change with the initiation of reforms. Specifically this implies that recidivism will decline. The study site was Naivasha Maximum Security prison. The respondents interviewed for the study were in three categories. They included inmates who have been in prison before 2001 and after and have since then reoffended, key informants and ex-offenders. A total of 40 respondents were interviewed for the study. The method of sampling used was purposive. The methods used are both structured and semi structured interviews. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative approach. Quantitative approach was used because during data manipulation, variables of nominal scale were statistically applied. Numerical values were assigned to such data for coding purposes. Variables of age and level of education were used versus the likelihood of re-offending to establish the significant relationship through Chi-Square test. The findings of the study have shown that the opening of prisons is facilitating behavior change though issues of stigma, unemployment and ineffective police force have been fronted as factors contributing to reoffending. The study concludes that prison reforms are about changing the prison institution and its practices. It is expected that prisoners’ behavior would change after reforms have been undertaken. This implies that after a prisoner has completed serving his/her imprisonment term, he or she becomes a law-abinding citizen through non-involvement in crime which is a true measure for rehabilitation.