The Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC) has held a validation for submissions made by stakeholders in Kakamega on the proposed draft Power of Mercy Policy framework and draft Power of Mercy (amendment Bill, 2022).
The committee received submissions from 24 counties which were summarized in six thematic areas that will form part of the policy and bills which are in the final stages of preparation.
POMAC’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Lydia Muriuki urged pardoned offenders to take advantage of the freedom they have received to improve their lives as they risk being taken back to jail if they resort to law breaking.
“Enjoy your freedom, but in the event you choose not to be a good Kenyan your offences will be categorized and you will be taken back to prison. Also if you go out there and become a nuisance by harassing witnesses and victims there are provisions for that,” she noted.
Muriuki observed those serving long jail terms reformed fully asking the community to accept them.
She said that the Advisory committee has adopted a multi-agency approach in the rehabilitation process of pardoned offenders through reintegration, empowerment, resettlement and arbitration that enables them to reform.
Provision for Humanitarian Parole, fate of Kenyans jailed in foreign countries and foreigners jailed in Kenyan prisons were part of the six thematic areas that the committee validated.
The CEO said they have also digitized the petition process to make the process more transparent and accountable allowing the pardoned offenders to track their application.
She said that when pardoning, the pardoned are subjected through a rigorous process that include security vetting, clearances from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the National Intelligence Service (NIS) among other correctional services.
The Deputy Commissioner General of Prisons Florence Omondi Momanyi urged the public to accept back the pardonees who have been rehabilitated and help them to settle down.
“It will not be right for us to continue condemning these people yet the system and government has pardoned them,” she noted.
She said that the Ministry of Labor has equipped the pardoned with skills that they can use to improve their lives once in the community.
“We have partnered with Faraja Ndugu society among other organizations that give tools to the pardoned offenders to practice the skills they acquired while in prison back in the community,” she added.
The chairman Interfaith council Kakamega Bishop Nicholus Olumasai said they are ready to support the committee in sensitizing members of the community to accept those who are pardoned.