KNAPO as indicated above is basically the professional; association for all probation officers hence the professional wing of the probation department. In Kenya , the department is in the office of the Vice President and Ministry of Home Affairs.
HISTORICAL AND DEVELOPMENT OF PROBATION SERVICES IN KENYA
Probation in criminal justice system is referred to as sentence where the offender often found guilty is released to the community for a specified period of time under the supervision of a probation officer and he/she is given certain definite conditions to follow failure to which he/she would be punished for the original offence.
Probation as a sentencing option was started in 1841 by one John Augustus in Boston USA . The option became popular and spread worldwide with Britain adopting it in 1907.
Kenya having had been a colony of Britain followed the British law system. However the option of Probation sentence surfaced in 1939 when “the petterson Commission 1939” was instituted to study possibility of establishment of probation sentencing in Kenya . This was prompted by the fact that the prisons in Kenya were over crowded especially due to Nationalism movements.
Following the finding of the commission, a committee was set up in 30/7/1941 to consider the advisability of introducing probation system in the Kenya colony.
The report of the committee recommended urgent establishment of the probation services in 1942 but the services to be confined to Nairobi Municipality only. On 20/12/1943, the probation of offenders' ordinance no xxix of 1943 commenced in Kenya . It was based on British ordinance of 1907.
However in 1939 – 1944 British was in the 2 nd world war and the ordinance was not put in operation.
In 1945 the first probation officer in Kenya was appointed on secondment from the home office probation service ( Britain ) and the commissioner of prisons was appointed the principal probation officer for administrative purposes. Later in the year Mr. Owen was confirmed as the first substantive principal probation officer.
It was until 19 /4/1946 that the Probation of offenders ordinance no. xxix of 1943 become operational in Kenya covering Nairobi Municipality .
Upon operationalization of the ordinance in 1946, there was urgent need to train Africans as assistant Probation Officers to work under supervision of European probation officers. Courses for Assistant probation officers were conducted in 1947, 1948,1950, and 1953.
The qualification criteria for training depended on personality, vocational/academic qualifications (junior secondary school).
This course produced the first groups of pioneer African probation officers some of whom become the heads of the department like Mr. Wanguche, Mr. Torome, and Mr. Maiyo.
During the initial stages, the services were offered to adult offenders until 1952 when the department was further transferred to judicially and probation officers started handling children cases especially on declaration of state of emergency.
In 1954, the department was transferred to Ministry of community development and it became responsible for approved schools and juvenile remand homes which had been attached to prisons department at the time. The department became a separate entity within community development ministry. The principal probation officer became the chief inspector of approved schools and juvenile remand homes.
Despite the petterson commission and subsequent committees' recommendations that the services be confined to Nairobi municipality, the services quickly spread to other parts of the country.
In 1947 the services started in central province which covered present areas of Kiambu, Muranga, Nyeri, Embu, Meru and Nanyuki.
1948 Probation Services were started in Mombasa Coast province to cover Coastal strip as far as Voi.
In 1950 Nakuru office was opened to cover Naivasha, Narok, Nyahururu, Eldoret, Nandi.
It was not until 1953 that Kisumu office was opened to cover today's Nyanza Province and Western Province .
Administratively in 1953 Kenya was divided into five provinces with Maasai and Northern frontier districts excluded for being unsuitable on bases of types of offences, vastness and population.
PROGRAMMES WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT
The department runs three programmes all concerned with treatment of offenders.
1. Probation orders
An alternative non-custodial sentence in which an offender is given a chance to reform himself within the community under the supervision of a probation officer.
Other salient features are:
-Focus on reform rather than punishment
-Uphold the dignity of the offender
-Allow the offender to continue with his familial obligations
-Removes offender from exposure to hardened criminals.
Why does the court refers an offender for probation?
-Circumstances of the offence
Probation officers conduct social inquiries and present reports to assist the courts in sentencing.
These reports provide the following information on the offender:-
-Personal History – Education, employment e.t.c.
-Circumstances of the offence
-His/her attitudes towards the offence
-Home reports /observations
-Evaluation of capacity to change
-Tentative recommendation which the court heavily relies on to make a final sentence.
OTHER COMMITTAL INSTITUTIONS
-Borstal Institutions – under prisons department
-Kamiti Youth Corrective – Training Centre (K.Y.C.T.C.) – under prison department
-Rehabilitation (Approved) schools – under Children's Department.
Some probationers come from a home environment that is hostile to their proper resettlement. Such probationers are taken to institutions refereed to as Probation Hostels. Hostels are places of temporary residence for probationers who cannot go back home immediately they are sentenced to serve a period on probation. One can be in a probation hostel for a period of twelve months while the probation officer is making efforts for him/her to be accepted and resettled home. The probation hostel is not a prison and does not have any resemblance to a prison. While in the hostel, probationers are not restricted but made free to move about. The department has three hostels namely:
LOCATION OF HOSTELS
a) KIMUMU –Based in Eldoret-which has two sections.
One is a youth training center where young people ever primary school going age attend vocational training. The other section is for children aged 10-14 who attend neighboring schools while at residence.
b) NAIROBI BOYS PROBATION HOSTEL - Located next to Jogoo road police station. Takes in males from 15 to adulthood
Probation Hostel- at Nakuru- for girls only from 13 years to adulthood.
COMMITTAL TO PROBATION HOSTELS
Objectives of Hostels:
-Provide home away from home.
-Provide institutionalized, intensive and close supervision.
-Remove probationer from environments, which are unfavorable for
-Provide vocational training
2. COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDERS
What is Community Service Orders?
A Community Service Order is an order of the court requiring the offender to perform unpaid public work for the benefit of the community for a period specified In the order.
By Section 3 (a) of the Community Service Orders Act. No of 1998, Community Service Orders applies to persons who have convicted of an offence.
• Punishable by imprisonment up to three years with or without an option of a fine,
• And other offences punishable by imprisonment of three or more years, but for which the Magistrate would have imposed a custodial sentence of three years or less. Community Service therefore targets those offenders who have committed non-serious offences.
The objectives of Community Service Orders
The Community Service Orders Programme in Kenya has set itself to achieve the following objectives. These are:
• To decongest the already overcrowded Kenyan prisons
• To rehabilitate the offender so that he becomes a better member of society.
• The offender to perform unpaid public work for the benefit of the community as a way of paying back to the community for the wrong done
• Reduce the offending
• Keep non-serious offenders from the hardcore criminals who more often than not educate tem on how to commit more serious crimes
• Enable the offender to maintain family ties and provide for his family while at the time performing the sentence
• Reconcile the offender with the victim
• Offer counseling for those who need to rediscover themselves and abandon deviant behavior
The implementation of Community Service Orders Programme is vested in the National Committee of the Community Service Orders which is chaired by Judge of the High Court. This is the supreme organ of the programme and is charged among others with the formulation of the policy of the programme, overseeing the operation and activities of the programme, fundraising, adopting regulations and suggesting amendments to the Attorney General for enactment to facilitate smooth implementation of the programme. The membership is a reflection of the diversity of the stakeholders involved in CSO. They include the Judiciary, Probation, Police, Prisons, NGOs, Civil Society, Religious Leaders members representing the community. It has a total of 17 members. From among the members of the National committee a smaller committee known as the Executive Committee is formed comprising the Chairman, Vice Chairman, national Coordinator and three other members. This committee which should be meeting monthly generally supervises the work of the secretariat and makes recommendations to the national Committee.
WHAT IS AFTERCARE SERVICES?
• Aftercare may be defined as the whole range of services which may be provided for all categories of offenders be they men, women or youthful offenders to resettle back into the community upon release from various penal institutions.
• The ultimate aim of Aftercare services is to reduce recidivism (re - offending behavior). A reduction in offending behavior by released offenders should therefore be an indication of a successful supervision rehabilitation and re-integration by the service providers.
• The main concern in Aftercare therefore should be towards improving the quality of life of the released offenders and their families. This could be by helping them in finding accommodation, employment, training, education and the acquiring of appropriate social skills.
• Released offenders come from different economic social and cultural settings and represent a diverse group of individuals representing a cross section of society. Of importance to note is that the situation to which an offender returns upon release from penal institutions and the environments he continues to live in has a great impact on his/her immediate subsequent behavior. The Probation Officer as the supervising officer should try to ensure that the supervisee is re-integrated and resettled in the social setting where he had been removed for the period of incarceration.
• A successful after care program should have a direct effect of improving the social welfare of a particular individual, his immediate family as well as the community which in turn helps in creating and maintaining a conducive secure environment for social economic development.
Rationale for Aftercare through probation .
• Probation officer knows the discharge person Despite that early mention of aftercare by colonial government, the programme continued to be lawfully in prisons and OP which delegates the implementation to probation department.
• Has experience in obtaining employment
• Has an office where discharged person can report
• Is in contact with local social and religious groups
• Is for more reliable and less likely to be absent at critical times.
• Can take the necessary if the discharged person fails to fulfill conditions of release.
CATEGORIES OF AFTER CARE
• Ex-Borstal inmates – i.e. these released under Cap 92, after serving part of their sentence in the institution.
• Long term prisoners – those who have been sentenced to 7 years and above
• Special Category Psychiatric criminals, i.e. those detained at Mathari hospital for having committed serious offences when they were mentally sick or had been addicted to drugs.