, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Inmates at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison have urged the Judiciary to urgently address continued delays in their appeals, to ensure they timely get justice and also reduce the high number of prisoners in the country.
The inmates, through a memorandum to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga also complained that inmates do not get their appeal records on time which impacts negatively on their arguments in court.
They also argue that they lack proper and effective legal representation during trial and appeal of their cases saying in most instances, the pro-bono counsels do not visit them in prison.
“The Court Users’ Committee has proven effective in coordinating multi-sectoral policy formulation and implementation,” CJ Mutunga stated.
Through this model, Mutunga said the justice sector has developed capacity to examine problematic trends and to craft solutions to them.
“Because of these reforms and the reforms in the Judiciary, I am told by the prisons department that for the first time in the country’s history, we have more convicts than remandees in our correctional institutions,” he said.
Currently, the country has over 50,000 inmates where 25,000 are awaiting trial while the rest have been sentenced.
The inmates met the Chief Justice when he launched the Court Users Committee for the Milimani High Court Criminal Division at Kamiti, which he said will act as a link between clients and the court, in a bid to address such grievances.
With the launch of the CUC, Mutunga said, “it is expected that the Judiciary will work even more closely with other stakeholders to enhance access to justice.”
In this regard, he said the Judiciary will be establishing two more courts within Nairobi and its environs, one at the JKIA and the other in Juja.
He said this will enhance accountability, “for results in the Criminal Division of the High Court because the Judiciary has now adopted performance measurement and management.”
“Case Clearance rate and backlog reduction are key targets for both the High Court and the Magistrates’ Courts.”
The Directorate of Performance Management in the Judiciary, he said it was currently conducting a nationwide case census in preparation for institutional performance update and review.
Already, he said the census is revealing that more officers, more systems and administrative innovations will be needed to reduce backlog and achieve efficient case management moving forward.
The census, according to Mutunga is also unearthing “lost” files and flagging dormant cases for immediate intervention by the courts.