Speaking Wednesday during the closing ceremony of the 3rd Regional Symposium on Greening Judiciaries in Africa held in Nairobi, Gachagua noted that research shows most prisons in African countries hold more than three times their capacity, with over half of the detainees being petty offenders.
“Most of these people are hustlers- in other words, they may not raise the fines. Instead of custodial sentences, I challenge the judiciary to embrace environmental conservation sentence as has been recommended in a host of criminal justice reports,” he said.
Gachagua stated that such a move would play a critical role in decongesting prisons.
As at December 5 2022, the national prison population in Kenya stood at 58,887 against a capacity of 34,000.
Gachagua also called on the Judiciary to issue precedence-setting judgements on environmental conservation, which he argues will inform new laws and reviews that benefit people.
He argued that the regulatory, legislative and adjudicative framework in matters of environment is key in the wider conservation and regeneration strategy.
Reflecting on the Judiciary of Kenya’s institutional vision of Social Transformation through Access to Justice, Gachagua said that emphasis must be on people-centred justice and the tangible benefits for the peoples of respective jurisdictions.
“We must not forget strategies, policies and interventions with the most tangible benefits,” he added.
The DP further stated that the Kenyan government is taking the necessary steps, including supporting amendments towards strengthening the Climate Change Act 2016.
“I urge the public and other interested parties to comment comprehensively on the proposed amendments through the ongoing public participation process,” Gachagua said.
He went on to say that the African continent is leading in championing a sustainable development and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.
Gachagua pointed out that President William Ruto who is currently the coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) will convene a Continental Summit focusing on Climate Action in 2024.