Shimo La Tewa maximum-security prison on Wednesday freed about 180 convicts to finish serving their sentence from home.
Their release was in line with a directive from the Judiciary, to decongest prisons as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19 virus.
According to the Standard newspaper, most of the convicts had served their sentences, and the Judge saw it fit to set them free.
Justice Eric Ogola presided over their cases and gave them strict instructions to stay away from any crime-related activities.
A majority of the prisoners had served up to three-quarters of their sentence. They would finish the remaining term while in their homes.
While ruling on the matter, Justice Ogola said. “In exercise of my powers under Article 165 of the Constitution section 362, 364 and 357 of the Criminal Procedures Code, the convicts are at this moment released from prison to serve the rest of their sentences at home.”
Convicts to work under community service
He further said the police in charge of community service would closely monitor jail term of the released convicts. As a way to keep them from indulging in any mischief, they would participate in community chores under the strict supervision of police officers.
Upon their release, justice Ogola directed the prisoners to report to the station of their arrest within 48 hours.
In a press briefing on March 15, 2020, Chief Justice David Maraga ordered all arrests and new cases, except those of a higher degree handled in police stations by police officers.
During this period, most courts remain closed; hence those charged with petty crimes in Mombasa will have cases solved through bonds until a later hearing. On the other hand, serious cases will have their hearing through video conference and teleconferencing installed in prisons.
The CJ, however, insisted that courts would carry on with handling emergency hearing and dealing with pleas in criminal cases.
“Judges will in the meantime review deserving cases identified by the prisons authorities, and issue appropriate revision orders to decongest the prisons,” reiterated the Chief Justice.
He finished by saying that magistrate courts would participate in reviewing bail term for individuals in remand throughout the country.