Meeting the Psycho-Social Developmental Needs of Children in Penal Institutions in Nairobi County, Kenya

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School Human and Social Sciences, Daystar University


There has been an increase on the number of children in conflict with the law who are being confined in penal institutions in Kenya. Yet these institutions seem to be faced with many challenges that could affect these children’s’ psychosocial development. This situation is what led to the study entitled meeting the psycho-social developmental needs of children in penal institutions in Kenya: Nairobi County. The study design is descriptive. The study population consisted of 386 children, 53 caregivers, four managers and four deputy managers. The sample from which the data were collected consisted of 56 children, 21 caregivers, one manager and three deputy managers. The sampling techniques were as follows; stratification and random sampling for the children, random sampling for the care givers and purposive sampling for the administrators. Data from the managers were collected using interview method while data from the children and the care givers were collected using questionnaires. Descriptive statistics were generated before analysis and interpretation. Information was then presented in form of frequency distribution, charts, tables and notes. The summary of the findings are: First, some of the major psychosocial factors in the children’s backgrounds that predisposed them to delinquency included parenting, lack of schooling, and the presence of alcohol and drugs in their family environments. Second, some practices in the institutions which contributed to the meeting of the children’s psychosocial needs included: orientation of children during admission, formal schooling, involvement in co-curricular activities, and visiting by relatives. Finally, the institutions faced challenges in: provision of basic needs, programming needs, lack of recreational facilities and training of the staff. The major recommendations are: there is need to empower parents economically and social. There is also need for the government to supervise the institutions and monitor the practices therein. Then, the institutions need government support in terms of funding, training of caregivers, facilities and resource provision. The findings of the study may contribute to knowledge on various issues on children’s psychosocial developmental needs.




Psycho-Social Developmental Needs, Penal Institutions, Nairobi County, Kenya, Children’s’ psychosocial development


Ogweno, Judith Oriya, (2011). Meeting the Psycho-Social Developmental Needs of Children in Penal Institutions in Nairobi County, Kenya. School Human and Social Sciences, Daystar University: Thesis