At least two-thirds of prisoners on death row in Kenya are battling physical health and mental challenges, a new report shows.
The report dubbed Living With a Death Sentence in Kenya: Prisoners’ Experiences of Crime, Punishment and Death Row was launched by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) in collaboration with its development partners on Tuesday, January 24.
The survey conducted by The Death Penalty Project indicates that 67 per cent of inmates sentenced to death over robbery with violence and murder said their physical health had suffered compared with those whose death sentences had been commuted and who were now serving a life sentence (63%).
"Some time away from death row may have improved their health, though the difference was not statistically significant," part of the report reads.
According to the United Kingdom-based organisation, men were more likely to report deteriorating physical health at 67 per cent compared to women at 45 per cent.
Further, 63 per cent of the inmates interviewed said their mental health had suffered since
going to prison.
"This was a little higher for death-sentenced prisoners (65%) than for those now serving a life sentence (57%)," the report adds.
There were no differences between men and women reporting on their mental health.
"Two-thirds of the prisoners said that their relationships with families had deteriorated following their conviction, with 1 in 10 having no visitors in prison," the report further stated.
A total of 671 prisoners spread across 12 Kenyan prisoners participated in the survey.
The inmates included not only those currently under sentence of death but also those previously sentenced to death who later had their sentence commuted.
There are currently approximately 600 prisoners on death row in Kenya. There are many more who
have been sentenced to death over the past decades, but whose death sentences have been commuted
to life imprisonment.
85 per cent of the prisoners thought it was unlikely that they would be arrested over the crime committed.
"89 per cent thought it was unlikely or very unlikely that they would be even be imprisoned," the survey shows.
However, only 1 per cent of the prisoners thought it was likely or very unlikely that they would be sentenced to death.
"Most were poorly educated. More than 1 in 10 had never been in formal education and more than 2/3 had only completed primary school," the report added.