According to Kenyan prison officials, about 70% of women in their prisons are innocent. Many times they are falsely accused and unable to pay the bond to be released so they remain in prison for months, even up to several years, until the court determines their guilt. Her children are scattered among relatives if they are willing to take them at all, otherwise they end up living on the street. Once a woman has been released from prison (guilty or innocent) she is not welcomed by her family or community. Her children are viewed the same.
Over 43% of the 45 million people residing in Kenya live below the international poverty line.
- Poverty drives many girls to early marriages. The resulting early pregnancies and lack of male stewardship necessitate women becoming the primary bread winner.
- Desperation leads some women to resort to criminal activity to support their families.
- There are over 3,000 women in Kenyan prisons across the country, mostly for poverty related crimes.
- There are over three million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Kenya. Children as young as two are forced to live on the streets, severely malnourished and lacking social support and basic needs.
- Within Kenyan culture, former prisoners, even those found innocent, are not accepted by society. Over 25% of the women leaving prison are not even welcomed back into their families, leaving them no safe place to live.