Challenges facing gender mainstreaming in the Kenya prisons service
The study was carried out in the prisons department in the Central Region of Kenya. Central region has got 15 prisons; 4 women prisons and 11male prisons (KPS 2015). All prisons in the Central Region of Kenya were covered. All the top and middle level management employees of these prisons were used as the respondents. This study was conducted through a descriptive research design. The study population consisted of all prisoners and prison personnel in Central Region Prisons. The unit of analysis was 129 senior and middle level managers of the Central Region Prisons. Questionnaires and interview schedules were the methods used to collect data. The study indicated that HRM policies in Kenya prisons service hinder gender mainstreaming. It has also revealed that there is a need for more budgetary allocation in order to educate officers on the issues of gender mainstreaming. An interview was conducted to Key informants who are aware of Kenya prisons service gender mainstreaming. These key informants are part of the criminal justice system where Kenya Prisons Service is a partner. From the interview, it was found that 6 respondents were from judiciary department, 2 from probation department and 4 from Police department. The interview revealed that all the key informants were aware of gender mainstreaming in prisons. It further revealed that the Police department, Probation department and Judiciary are not actively involved in gender mainstreaming in the Kenya Prisons Service. However, it was noted that all the key informants are aware that gender mainstreaming in the Kenya Prisons Service is not effective. The Kenya Prisons Service should take measures to ensure that HRM policies on gender mainstreaming are gender sensitive as stipulated in the gender policy 2011. The Kenya Prisons Service should avail adequate and timely finances in their budget and also review their budgeting policies that affect gender mainstreaming. This will enhance the mainstreaming of gender through trainings and avail material resources for creating awareness on gender mainstreaming in the whole department. Advocacy and education should also be conducted to all prison officers to integrate gender issues in their work so as to address all known cultural issues that hinder effective gender mainstreaming.