Influence Of Prison Education Programme On Growth Of Ex-convict Small Scale Business Ventures In Taita Taveta County, Kenya.
The European Prison Education Association (EPEA) sees prison education as a moral right that meets a basic human need. Similarly, the advocacy of human rights claims that people held in prison are citizens, and that citizens are entitled to life-long education to ensure their full development, therefore prisoners should be offered meaningful education hence education is a very important human activity. It helps any society fashion and model individuals to function well in their environment. The purpose of education is to equip the citizenry to reshape their society and eliminate inequality. This study therefore sought to examine the influence of prison education programme on growth of ex-convict small scale business venture in Taita Taveta County, Kenya. The objectives of the study were: To examine the extent to which managerial skills influences growth of ex-convict small scale business ventures: To establish how entrepreneurial skill influences growth of ex-convict small scale business ventures; To assess the extent to which technical skills influences growth of ex-convict small scale business ventures; To assess how business finance skills influence growth of ex-convict small scale business ventures and to determine the extent to which capacity building influences growth of ex-convict small scale business venture. Data was collected by use of a semi-structured questionnaire and an interview guide from the target population. The study focused on a total of 300 ex-convicts in Taita Taveta County that hosts four penal institutions namely; Voi prison, Taveta prison, Wundanyi and Manyani Maximum Security prison. From the four penal institutions in Taita Taveta county the data base for Release (those completely served sentence, paid fine, power of mercy and appeal on the sentence) for three years (2012- 2014) indicates 1,800 out of which 300 are from the Taita Taveta locality. The researcher also targeted 80 prison technical instructors who are tasked in training the inmates stationed in four penal institutions in Taita Taveta County. The researcher sampled size 60 ex-convict and 16 prison technical instructors for the study. From the findings of the study, the researcher concluded that majority of small scale business ex-convicts had managerial skills, entrepreneurial skills, and technical but were less adequate in business finance skills and better placed as far as capacity building is concerned. The prison education programme was found to be of great benefit to the ex-convicts and the benefit trickle down to the community at large. The relationship between the objectives of the study was positive but business finance skill need to be improved as many ex-convicts expressed their inadequacy in that area. It was recommended that development and coordination of re-intergration programme activities with conjuction with community based stakeholders and Ngos to receive immediate attention and form a core part of a new after care policy; the Kenya prison should work with the county governments to assist in reintergration of ex-convicts back in the society an assist them in starting businesses through funding and subsidied business registration. The government should also assist them through the uwezo fund to start off their business venture and update prisoner earning scheme to reflect the current economic status.