Influence of Offenders’ Literacy Levels on Offenders’ Rehabilitation through Vocational Training at Kisumu and Kisii Prisons Commands

Authors : Charles Ouma Omondi; Calvince Barack Omondi; Jane Lusenaka Khasoa

Volume/Issue : Volume 8 - 2023, Issue 9 - September

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After the Dark Era of Colonial Kenya’s retribution-oriented prisons system, prisons reform policy encompasses a rehabilitation concept entailing three main programs: vocational training, formal educational program (primarily primary and secondary education), and psychological and social (including religious components). Despite existence in principle, policy practice faces a myriad of challenges and policy analysis research is required to unpack dynamics of practice and generate ecidence for improvement. This study, zooming in on vocational training program (VTP), examined the influence of offenders’ literacy on the uptake of the said program. The study focused on Kisumu Prisons Command, the third-largest prison hosting male and female inmates, and Kisii Prisons Command, the Nyanza region's second-largest prison. Three specific objectives guided the investigation: Adopting the Constructivist Learning Theoretical Model and employing a mixed-methods approach, the study collected data from various sources, including male and female inmates, vocational training instructors, prison officers- in-charge, and external program collaborators. Qualitative insights were drawn through interviews with 9 officers-in-charge, 10 vocational training instructors, and 6 social welfare officers, equally distributed between Kisii and Kisumu. Quantitative data were collected via semi-structured questionnaires administered to male and female inmates, with sample sizes determined using Fischer et al.'s (1998) formula. Study showed that literacy levels remain low in both men and women prisons; more female offenders are enrolled into literacy, gendered and prison-context aspects of VTP uptake obtain and thus the need for more targeted policies focusing on literacy as a pre-cursor to enhancing VTP programs. The study emphasized the importance of designing programs that consider offenders' varying literacy levels to maximize their engagement and benefits. Conclusively, this research brought together theoretical frameworks and empirical investigation to provide actionable insights with implications for policy and practice. The findings contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of offender rehabilitation through VTPs, offering guidance for future initiatives that prioritize gender-sensitive approaches and holistic inmate rehabilitation.

Keywords : Offenders’ literacy, rehabilitation, Kisumu prison, Kisii prison.


Paper Submission Last Date
31 - December - 2023

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