Pardoned convicts to get police clearance certificates under new bill

Offenders who will be pardoned through presidential mercy will be allowed to get police clearance popularly known as  certificate of good conduct if a new draft bill is approved.

The bill ( Power of mercy amendment bill) 2022 which is in its final validation processes before it is forwarded to cabinet for approval proposes to have criminal records for offenders who are pardoned expunged or sealed.

The Power of mercy is anchored in Article 133 of the 2010 constitution where the president, in petition of any person, may in accordance with the advice of the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee pardon convicted offenders.

The president may grant a free or conditional pardon to a person convicted of an offence, postpone the punishment, or substitute with a less severe form of punishment.

Speaking during a validation exercise in Garissa, the committee’s joint secretary Stephen Gitau said that there has been a view that a person who have reformed and qualified for pardon by the president should be able enjoy their privacy by sealing or expunging their criminal records.

“If it is a free pardon, the criminal records may be expunged while if it is a conditional pardon then the records can be sealed such that if the person can get clearance certificate just like anybody else and they can secure gainful employment,” Gitau said.

“These are the views of the stakeholders whom we have involved in the processes during the public participation processes we have carried out countrywide,” he added.

The records to be expunged or sealed according to the draft bill include all police records of complaint, investigation, detention, arrest and conviction, all prison records of the offender’s remand and custodial sentence, and all judicial records of trial proceedings.

The draft further proposes creation of a national parole board, and mental health review board for offenders with mental health issues.

Those who will be able to qualify for pardon include the vulnerable offenders like expectant mothers, women with children, terminally ill persons and the elderly under special circumstances.

However, a prisoner must have served at least one third of their prison term or 5 years for those serving life imprisonment.

Those with pending matters in court or those who have not exceeded their judicial processes and those serving probation sentences will not be considered for pardon under the power of mercy amendment bill.

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