The Kenya Prisons Service was established by the Prisons Act Cap 90. The Borstal Institutions Act Cap 92 makes provisions for the detention of young offenders. It is charged with the enormous responsibility of rehabilitation and reformation of offenders. Over the years, The Prisons Act and Borstal Institutions Act have not undergone any comprehensive review or reform to reflect the current modern circumstances and the Constitution. In particular the Acts should be aligned with the Constitution and other relevant laws and practice directions. There is need for the Prisons Act to reflect international standards and the Standard Minimum Rules governing the treatment of all prisoners.
KNCHR together with partners within the larger Prisons Reform Working Group have been involved in reviewing Cap 90 and Cap 92 of the Laws of Kenya in order to ensure that prisons system are managed in a fair and humane manner. The Prisons Act and the Borstal Institutions Acts in their current state falls short on a number of the internationally agreed principles for the treatment of prisoners. The Acts are not clear or are silent on issues pertaining to social re-integration, healthcare, prisoners with special needs such as elderly prisoners, mentally ill prisoners, women with children and prisoners with disabilities and alternative measures and sanctions such as community service and restorative justice. The Act is currently still under review by The Kenya Law Reforms, The Office of the Attorney General and stakeholders before final review by the Senate and national Assembly.