In 2019, RWI’s Nairobi office undertook the first ever known probation service human rights audit, in cooperation with the Kenya Probation and Aftercare Service (KPAS).
The audit was measured according to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules on Non-Custodial Measures (Tokyo Rules) and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules).
The objective of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s Kenya Programme is to create sustainable capacity within the Kenyan Prison Service (KPS) and KPAS to meet relevant international human rights standards. In order to strengthen compliance to international human rights standards within the Kenya Correctional Service, the Institute focuses particularly on the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Rules for Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty.
Mapping and identification of the audit stations (probation offices) by KPAS, in collaboration with RWI, was informed by factors such as; the various categories of offenders within each station and hostel, and the nature and number of offenses handled by the courts located in the stations.
The audit exercise is important because it puts the KPAS in an influential position, both regionally and internationally, to set better practices for dealing with offenders serving non-custodial sentences. The audit also provided an opportunity for RWI and KPAS to engage in policy formulation and review dialogue, as well as contributing to improved knowledge levels among the probation officers, and to the identification of areas to improve on service delivery to offenders.
Jackie Mathenge, RWI Programme Officer, says the audit provides an opportunity for the Probation Service in Kenya to strengthen their compliance to the Tokyo Rules through developing evidence-based action plans based on the findings of the audit, and that it sets a precedence for best practice.
“The audit has also helped the Service identify policy areas that need to be amended so as to ensure the offenders are treated with utmost dignity and their rehabilitative needs taken into consideration.”
The Human Rights Audit exercises were conducted in; Nairobi County (Makadara Probation Office and the Nairobi Probation Hostel), Eldoret County (Eldoret Probation Office & Kimumu Probation Hostel), and lastly in Siaya County (Siaya Probation Office & Siaya Female Probation Hostel).
“Although it is early, so far the audit has been successful in as far as helping the Service identify capacity gaps and training needs.”