Chief Justice David Maraga has said reforms will be put in place to avoid unnecessary imprisonment of petty offenders.
Maraga said he will work together with the government to dis-criminalize certain offences like loitering which he said are petty and people should not be imprisoned because of such crimes.
He said it will ease congestion in prison.
Maraga said the number of the people imprisoned of petty offences is alarming compared to those whose cases are successfully prosecuted.
He spoke during the launch of the Criminal Justice Committee at Supreme Court which was attended by Deputy CJ, Attorney General, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru among other officials.
Waiguru is the chair of Council of governors said he was happy to partner with the judiciary and will work together to have a reformed criminal justice.
The AG Githu Muigai also said the government will work to review substantive criminal offences in a review reform bill 2019.
“There is a great need to urgently correct some of the embarrassing features within the justice system,” he said.
Maraga said the current legal framework does not address the needs of the young generation who find themselves in conflict with the law as they socialise and earn a living.
“We have established that 75 per cent of those sent to prison are aged between 18 -35 years. The majority are poor whose only offence is lack of business license or being found drunk and disorderly,” Maraga said.
He said it is worth noting there is a high low rate of prosecution of serious offences.
He added that only five percent of sexual offences have been determined with offences like organised crimes and capital offences recording the highest acquittals and withdrawals. This only means that freedom is being procured at the expense of justice.
Maraga was concerned with more children being remanded in adult prisons instead of children remand homes with their cases taking abnormal long periods before they are resolved.
“We have in various prisons and we can attest the detention conditions are very inappropriate especially to people living with disabilities, pregnant and nursing mothers and the elderly. Most prisons are congested with prisoners being clamped together,” he said.
He appealed to the government to put resources to build a modern prison so that vprosponers are taken good care of.
Maraga said with the committee in place, it will comprehensively review the whole criminal justice system and forward their recommendations before December 2018.
Chief Justice David Maraga has said that a number will on Monday next week officially launch the National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms.
The committee is under the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ).
The event that will be held at the Supreme Court building,will be graced by, among other dignitaries, the Attorney General as well as the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Council of Governors, H.E. Joseph Nanok and Ann Waiguru, respectively.
Following last year’s launch of Criminal Justice system in Kenya: An Audit that indicted the criminal justice system to be largely skewed against the poor,Hon Chief Justice David Maraga consequently gazetted a multi-agency implementation committee under NCAJ to spearhead the implementation of the audit recommendations and policy reforms in Kenya.
The 34-member committee will be known as the National Committee on Criminal Justice Reform (NCCJR).
The Committee will examine all aspects of criminal justice reform, including but not limited to arrest, investigation, policing, prosecution, adjudication, and sentencing including non-custodial sentences, incarceration, aftercare and re-entry.