Strengthening Kenyan Prison Laws

An Interview with Chairman of the Policy and Legal Review Committee on Prisons Act

Welcome to this exclusive interview shedding light on a unique partnership between the Kenya Prison Service (KPS) and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI). We are privileged to have Mr. Kennedy Aluda, the Deputy Commissioner General, and Chairman of the committee spearheading this endeavour, sharing insights into this collaborative journey.

Interview by Damaris Seina, Kenya Programme Lead.

Damaris: Thank you for joining us today, Mr. Aluda. Could you provide our readers with an overview of the collaboration between KPS and RWI?

Mr. Aluda: The partnership between KPS and RWI dates to many years ago when RWI initiated a human rights capacity building programme for KPS staff. Since then, our journey has been one of continuous advancement having implemented various successful initiatives ranging from intensive human rights capacity building and development of policies and internal assessment tools, peer exchanges, specialized trainings for women and many more. RWI have been a close partner with KPS for many years.

Damaris: What prompted the decision to initiate review of the prison laws in Kenya?

Mr. Aluda: Over time, we have been operating with archaic laws and reviewing prison laws is crucial to ensure that our legal framework aligns with the constitution, international standards, evolving societal norms. It allows us to address gaps, improve our operations, ensure human rights are upheld, and enhance the rehabilitation and The decision to review our laws is aimed at creating a more effective legal foundation for our prison system.

Damaris: Could you share some specific ways in which RWI’s involvement has made a meaningful impact on this endeavor?

Mr. Aluda: Certainly. RWI’s contribution has been multi-faceted and invaluable. Having worked with prisons services from around the world and closely with KPS for over a decade, their level of expertise and understanding on Kenyan context, in-depth understanding of international standards and best practices has been a great asset. Their insights and experiences have greatly enriched our discussions and have been instrumental in analyzing legal provisions, identifying gaps, and suggesting innovative solutions. RWI’s guidance has lent depth and rigor to our review process.

Damaris: How has RWI’s international perspective influenced your committee’s approach to this process?

Mr. Aluda: Damaris, I must say that RWI’s international outlook has truly been enlightening. Their invaluable guidance in aligning our practices with the UN Model Prison Law has been transformative. Emphasizing human rights, fairness, and justice, their counsel has served as a guiding beacon for us. It has inspired us to transcend local boundaries, aspiring to meet global benchmarks. This broader perspective has not only enhanced the depth of our discussions but has also elevated the quality of our drafted prison law.

Damaris: As you reflect on the collaboration, what message would you like to convey to RWI?

Mr. Aluda: I want to express my profound gratitude to RWI for their unwavering support. Their dedication to our cause has been exceptional, and their expertise has significantly enhanced our efforts. Through their collaboration, we have not only improved our legal framework but also deepened our commitment to upholding human rights in our prisons.

Damaris: Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of the Kenya prison service as a result of this collaboration?

Mr. Aluda: I envision a future where our prison service stands as a bastion of justice, rehabilitation, and respect for human dignity. The revised laws, informed by this collaboration, will guide us towards a system that prioritizes the rights and well-being of every prisoner. Positive transformation within our prisons is on the horizon!

Damaris: Thank you for sharing your insights and the remarkable journey of collaboration between the committee and RWI. Your words reflect the importance of international partnerships in shaping a fair and just legal framework.

Our collaboration with RWI propels us toward a prison system that embodies human rights, rehabilitation, and international standards foundation. Together, we’re crafting a future where rights and dignity prevail.

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