Rights defenders ask prisons to reserve space for intersex inmates

Members of the Taskforce on review of the Laws relating to the exercise of the Power of Mercy under Section 133 of the constitution during a sitting in Ol Kalou Town, Nyandarua county.

Photo credit: Steve Njuguna | Nation Media Group

Correctional facilities have been urged to set up separate facilities for intersex persons.

Human rights activist Ruth Getobai argued that intersex persons are vulnerable and should not spend jail terms with those who are not of their gender.

“Our prison facilities should consider setting up separate structures where intersex persons would spend their jail term as they are vulnerable …,” Ms Getobai told a committee reviewing the “power of mercy”.

The task force that is reviewing the laws relating to the exercise of the power of mercy under Section 133 of the Constitution was also urged to classify intersex persons and stateless residents as vulnerable persons requiring the President's pardon.

Residents of Nyandarua County told the team that street children and the terminally ill should also be freed from jail terms.

"Our cells are full of young persons aged between 18 and 30. Most of these youths committed crimes as a result of peer influence, stupidity and waywardness that they regret having gotten into,” said Muthamaki Dominic Ngera of the Kikuyu Council of Elders.

“It is our plea that these young men's behaviour is looked into and if they have truly reformed, be allowed to come back home because we need them to continue our generation, build our nation and hold our hands as we age."

For pardoned people to get police clearance certificates so they can be employed, the committee recommended that their criminal records be put under seal.

Power of Mercy Advisory Committee CEO Lydia Muriuki lamented that many ex-offenders have found it hard to move on and be reintegrated into society because they lack police clearance certificates.

“If you have been pardoned or your sentence postponed, we want to give you tools that will help you earn a living considering that many of our prisoners are youthful. Those who reoffend will be taken back to jail to serve their term behind bars,” Dr Muriuki said.

The task force also recommended that a county-based multi-agency committee be set up to help with the monitoring of offenders released on strict conditions to serve the remainder of their terms in the community.

Dr Muriuki also said they were “negotiating for our Kenyans in foreign jurisdictions. If they are pardoned, then we have a framework on how to handle them back home".

She added that foreigners in Kenyan prisons have a chance to apply for release and be repatriated to serve the rest of their jail terms in their own countries.

revealed that A county-based committee will be formed to help monitor released offenders, said Nyandarua Central Deputy County Commissioner George Matundura.

He also urged chiefs and the community to always provide the correct information about offenders when inquiries are made.