The Kenya Forum | Jailed for attempting suicide, and the deplorable state of jails - The Kenya Forum

July 11, 2012


Jailed for attempting suicide. We consider a recent conviction passed and whether we’re using incarceration properly as a deterrent.

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Jailed for attempting suicide, and the deplorable state of jails

Jailed for attempting suicide, and the deplorable state of jails

Back on June 18 of this year the Kenya Forum posted an article about two men who had been convicted of stealing goods and cash to the value of 2,000/- from a man they threatened with pangas and rungus in Kiranga in Murang’a County and that the Senior Resident Magistrate in Thika had sentenced the pair to death.

Whilst it was too minor a news item to be published on the websites of Kenya’s main stream media, the same Senior Resident Magistrate, one B. J. Ndeda, has again recently been in the news, this time for sentencing a man to prison until August for the crime of attempting to commit suicide.

Apparently the man in question, a Mr Jospeh Nduati Mwangi, was found by neighbours while in the process of trying to take his own life and ended up in the dock in front of magistrate Ndeda.

The Kenya Forum wonders how a prison sentence helps someone who is in such a state of mind that he or she would contemplate suicide. Presumably if Mr Mwangi ever does manage to kill himself he could be in danger of receiving an even stiffer sentence from magistrate Ndeda: the death sentence perhaps?


According to the ‘Point Blank’ page in The Standard recently, a Ms Damaris Mwangi was on a visit to Kiambu prison and was shocked to see prisoners in ragged striped prison clothes, some of them all but naked except for a few rags hanging on their bodies.

“As a woman, I was embarrassed to see exposed men’s bodies”, she was quoted as saying. “Can’t prison authorities afford thread and needle to patch up torn uniforms?” she asked, continuing, “Surely, prisoners are human beings”.


Ms Mwangi would be more shocked to learn, as the Kenya Forum has, that on average, every day, 39 prisoners die in Kenya’s jails, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). That’s up from 29 per day at the time of Kenya’s independence. What great progress.

The Kenya Forum, whilst not wishing to ram religion down our readers’ throats but recognising that the world’s great religions often speak truths that we all should consider, asks the Commissioner of Prisons in Kenya, Mr Isaiah Osugu, to consider Matthew 25:36: ‘I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’


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