Professor Anne Obondo is a Professor of Psychiatric Social work at Department of Psychiatry in University of Nairobi


The prevalence of mental illnesses among special needs offenders in the criminal justice system in Kenya is high but are unrecognized and hence not treated or addressed by the criminal justice system when sentencing the special needs offenders. International Institute on Special Needs Offenders (IISNO) (2004), in a survey on mentally ill offenders in Kenya, found that mentally ill offenders are not given due attention and that multi agency intervention was lacking. Other challenges noted included lack of documentation, inefficient referral system and capacity of agencies to handle special needs offenders. The objective of this paper therefore is to review the existing mental health programmes for rehabilitation of special needs offenders in Kenya during and after incarceration by performing a systematic search of electronic databases and paper records available in the criminal justice system. This will give a clear picture of the situation resulting in recommendations of evidence – based intervention programmes for special needs offenders in the criminal justice system to avoid reoffending. More attention by various stake holders and an evaluation of the interventions is also needed.