Perceptions of service providers regarding special needs offenders in Kenya

Othieno CJ, Khaemba MN, Misikho R, Mueni F, Mugambi LN, Obondi C, Okwara L. "Perceptions of service providers regarding special needs offenders in Kenya.". 2012.


The Government of Kenya formed a multidisciplinary committee to address the issues of special needs offenders (SNO) in 2009. Because of the widely varying concepts of who could be included in this category, this study was necessary to clearly define and prioritise the interventions. Thus the views of 425 personnel who work with offenders in Kenyan institutions were assessed to determine their perception regarding SNOs and their modes of management. Qualitative methods and the Attitude Towards Prisoners (ATP) Scale were used to gauge the perceptions. The workers identified the following as special needs offenders: the mentally disabled (28.6%), orphans and vulnerable children (21.9%), the physically disabled (14.8%) and child offenders (11.9%). Overall the workers attitude towards offenders was positive but they relied mainly on intuition in identifying the SNOs and used counselling as the main mode of intervention. The study therefore recommends the development of assessment tools, and screening procedures at the intake so as to identify SNOs; establishment of special rehabilitative programmes for the categories of SNOs identified especially the following: intellectual disability and those with mental illness, alcohol and substance users, vulnerable children and those children whose mothers are in prison and the sexual offenders. Other challenges regarding the management of SNOs in Kenya are discussed

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