About 180 convicts from Shimo La Tewa Maximum Security Prison in Mombasa were released by a judge, to serve the remainder of their sentences from home.
The Standard on Wednesday, March 25 reported that the prisoners were set free in line with a directive by the Judiciary, and the police to decongest prisons, and to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
The publication reported that the convicts were released on account that they had already served a majority of their sentences, with the judge opting to shorten their terms.
However, Justice Eric Ogola, ordered that they must stay away from crime or any related activity for the period their terms are suspended.
Most of the prisoners had served over three-quarters of their sentences and would be allowed to complete their terms within the confines of their homes.
“In exercise of my powers under Article 165 of the Constitution section 362, 364 and 357 of the Criminal Procedures Code, the convicts are hereby released from prison to serve the rest of their sentences at home,” Justice Ogola ruled.
He further directed that their jail terms would be closely monitored under community service order. The convicts would be assigned community chores of which they would partake under the supervision of police officers or area chiefs.
Justice Ogola ordered the prisoners to report to police commanders in charge of the stations where they were first arrested within 48 hours of being released.
On March 15, 2020, Chief Justice David Maraga directed that all new cases and arrests, except those of a higher magnitude, would be dealt with at the police stations.
While the courts remain closed, those caught up in petty crimes in Mombasa will be offered bonds and hearings set for a later date, whereas crucial cases are heard via teleconferencing through video conferencing facilities installed in the prisons.
Maraga stated that the courts would continue to handle cases of emergencies and taking pleas in criminal cases.
“Judges will in the meantime review deserving cases identified by the prisons authorities and issue appropriate revision orders in an effort to decongest the prisons,” Maraga pronounced.
He added that magistrate courts across the country would undertake a review of bail terms for those in remand.