Factors influencing recidivism in Government Of Kenya Prisons: The case of Meru Prison
The main objective of this study was to find out exactly why ex-convicts are likely to repeat crimes after imprisonment despite the ongoing rehabilitations at prisons. The available date from Kenya Prisons department states that recidivism in Kenya prisons continue to grow. Of particular interest to the researcher in this context were the factors that influenced recidivism in Meru G.K Prisons. The key questions of interest was of what influence is vocational training programs on recidivism, of what relevance is the age of inmates to influencing recidivism, and whether inmates sentence duration influenced recidivism. Recidivism was given particular attention by the researcher because it directly affects the Kenyan society both socially and economically. In social aspects, the family ties and bonds are disrupted when a person is jailed, economically because insecurity affects investment besides being a burden to our fiscal public policy. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of participation in technical and vocational education on recidivism, the influence of age on recidivism and the influence of the length of incarceration on recidivism. The research adopted descriptive survey. The choice was fuelled by its ability to collect data without changing the environment. Purposive sampling was adopted for prison warders and tutors. Stratified sampling was used for inmates who had undergone training and those who had not been trained. Data was gathered by the use of a questionnaire and document analysis in prison records. The questionnaire consisted of both open and closed ended questions. The study was guided by three research questions, each anticipating data as follows. The first question anticipated data on role of vocational training and it relevance to reducing recidivism. Data was gathered on quality of the programmes, resource availability and qualification of instructors. The information gathered revealed that since introduction of vocational skills rate of re –arrests have been going down however the government have done nothing to provide financial support to those released with vocational skills to begin their businesses. It was also revealed that the curriculum being adopted is approved by Kenya Industrial Training Institute, the training resources were adequate and instructors’ skills were sufficient they had approved certificates from designers of curriculum. The second question anticipated data on age of incarceration to rate of recidivism. Data was gathered on influence of age of incarceration. The information gathered revealed that younger inmates were more likely to engage in crime leading to recidivism as opposed to older inmates. The third question anticipated data on the length of incarceration and it influence on recidivism. Data gathered revealed that people who had overstayed in prison were more likely to commit crime than people with short sentences. Data was analyzed by use of tables, frequency trends and correlation coefficient. The research therefore recommended that, more instructors need be trained and enough facilities provided, develop programs that will enable inmates receive high school credentials, analyze job market and encourage more inmates to enroll in training programs. Government should also begin micro loans revolving fund scheme to be ready to sponsor those who have undergone vocational training successful. Younger inmates upon release should be placed under probation programmes and given enough support upon release. The government should encourage shorter sentences as opposed to longer duration sentences which makes most inmates feel hopeless and engages in crime to recidivate.