Expunge records of pardoned criminals, agency told

Friday, September 23rd, 2022 05:00 | By
Lydia Muriuki, CEO of the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee. PD/FILE
Lydia Muriuki, CEO of the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee. PD/FILE

The criminal records of pardoned offenders should be expunged, say members of public while contributing to a session of the committee reviewing the Power of Mercy.

They said that sealing records of pardoned offenders would allow them seek police clearance certificates and hence secure jobs.

Lydia Muriuki, chief executive officer of the  Power of Mercy Advisory Committee, said the public were concerned about the challenges faced by offenders who have been released.

Muriuki said many offenders often relapse into crime due to stigma from society and difficulty in acquiring documents like Certificates of Good Conduct to enable them to get jobs.

Speaking in Kajiado town during a stakeholder’s validation exercise, Muriuki revealed that a free or conditional pardon within the meaning of Article 133 would be granted in the form of a record suspension, with the effect that the person’s record is sealed and a search on the database would result in a nil record.

“The record suspension will be conditional on maintaining a clean record, so that it is automatically revoked if the ex-offender is subsequently convicted of an offence,” she added. 

 Low supervision

Another issue raised by the public was the low level of supervision for pardoned offenders. They proposed the establishment of a county-based multi-agency committee to support the probation department.

Introduction of a parole system, which is a strict conditional release into the community under the supervision of an officer, would ensure that the offender is properly supervised.

An offender under parole is still serving the sentence and, therefore, if the conditions of release are violated, then the parole is revoked.

The committee’s vice-chairperson, Janet Kirui, emphasised the need for proper social reintegration to provide offenders the assistance they may need to reintegrate into the community and avoid relapsing into crime.

Implementation of a National Aftercare Policy and Bill by the Correctional Services will aid in resettlement and reintegration of offenders released from prisons and mental hospitals.

The Power of Mercy Committee is established pursuant to Article 133 of the Constitution to advise the President. The Constitution allows the President, on the petition, to grant free or conditional pardon to a person convicted of an offence.                                                        

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