Factors influencing recidivism among convicted prisoners: a case of Langata women prison in Nairobi county, Kenya
There are increased cases of recidivism in prisons which makes them to be overcrowded yet they have limited resources. Rehabilitation is difficult for many African prisons to achieve due to underfunding and overcrowding even when it stands as a major goal for policy makers. This study therefore sought to establish the factors influencing recidivism among convicted prisoners in Langata women prison. This study was guided by behavioral theory and social control theory. This study was a descriptive cross sectional study that adopted quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative data was collected from 40 randomly sampled inmates using semi structured questionnaires. Observations were made to determine how vocational training, education offered in prison and guidance and counselling influences recidivism in Lang’ata Women Prison. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS 18. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages were used to analyze data. The study results have shown that prisoners who received education in prison were less likely to commit crime than those who did not. The study also revealed that majority of the prisoners participated in vocational training. It was established that the inmates who underwent vocational training were less likely to engage in crime compared to those who did not as they were economically viable and useful to their society. The study established that most of the prisoners’ behavior had changed as a result of their participation in guidance and counseling. The current study revealed that guidance and counseling enabled the prisoners to manage triggers of criminal behavior such as anger, bad company, and drug abuse which earlier influenced majority of them to commit crimes they were convicted of. The study revealed that prisoners who received support for tools and equipment were less likely to re-offend than those who did not. Donor partnership in rehabilitation programs was established to increase effective rehabilitation programs and enhance their quality. This study recommends that more prisoners should be enrolled in education programs while in prison. Vocational training in prison should be increased and its quality enhanced to reduce chances of prisoners re-offending. Guidance and counseling programs should be introduced into prisons across the country to help reduce recidivism. Prisoners should be supported with tools and equipment to utilize skills they acquire in prison when they leave to integrate with the society. Prison management and government should partner with more donors in rehabilitation programs to ensure effectiveness of these programs and enhance their quality with a view to reduce recidivism in Kenya.