Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A Genealogical Analysis of the Criminal Justice System in Kenya: Rebirth of Restorative Justice for Juveniles?

By Sarah Muringa Kinyanjui


This thesis explores restorative justice practices as a modality of intervention in juvenile crime in Kenya. To analyse current restorative justice practices, the thesis adopts the Foucauldian concept of genealogy and examines the processes through which contemporary penal practices have become acceptable. The thesis links reforms in the juvenile justice system in Kenya to the process of legal globalization and highlights the role of the ‘law and development’ discourse in this process. Identifying pitfalls intrinsic to the Westernization of Kenyan law, the thesis engages in a postcolonial critique of law and development. Inspired by Foucault’s analysis of power/knowledge, which postcolonial theory heavily relies on, the thesis examines the conditions that make the Westernization of Kenyan law possible.\ud In particular, the thesis analyzes the conditions that have made certain penal practices acceptable. Using data collected through original empirical research and existing literature on the Kenyan justice system, the thesis examines these penal practices. The research reveals that there have been attempts to incorporate restorative justice practices in the formal juvenile justice system. However, the system underutilizes these practices in favour of conventional court-based penal practices. On the other hand, restorative justice values are embraced in informal forums. Arguing that restorative justice values are compatible with the cultural ethos of communities in Kenya, this thesis examines why restorative justice practices in the formal juvenile justice system remain underutilized. The thesis identifies imprisonment as the predominant modality of punishment in Kenya and analyzes how restorative justice fits in within this context.\ud Analyzing the current underutilization of restorative justice, the thesis highlights the failure to tailor legal structures to fit the contextual realities as a major drawback to the Westernization of Kenyan law. Inspired by postcolonial theory, the thesis underscores the need for local solutions to structural challenges besetting the legal system. It further emphasizes the need for a careful analysis of the compatibility of global penal trends with the contextual realities of a country still beset by the aftermath of colonialism

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2000). A Country Unmasked.
  2. (2005). A Critique of the Postcolonial English Curriculum in Former British Colonies – Kenyan and Indigenous Australian Contexts. Available from [accessed 1/6/07].
  3. (2004). A Gendered Analysis of the Experience of Ugandan Women War Survivors‟. Unpublished PhD Dissertation,
  4. (1974). A History of the Adoption of Codes of Criminal Law and Procedure in British Colonial Africa 1876-1935‟.
  5. (1974). A History of the Kikuyu:
  6. (2003). Accountability in Restorative Justice.
  7. (1924). African Administration/Native Justice. Papers in the possession of the Bodleian Library,
  8. (2001). African Network for the Prevention Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN).
  9. (1969). African Religions and Philosophy.
  10. (2003). African Studies and the Postcolonial Challenge‟. African Affairs 102:189.
  11. (2000). Africanity: A Combative Ontology‟.
  12. (1982). Afterword: the Subject
  13. (2006). Appendix Six Letter of Authorization from the Commissioner of Prisons
  14. (2006). As the Going Gets Tough, Politicians Run to Tribal Chiefs‟.
  15. (2001). Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime (UNAFEI).
  16. (2004). Asylum Law: Towards Reform of the Refugee Protection System in
  17. Available from [accessed 30/7/2007].
  18. Available from [accessed 10/11/2006].
  19. (2002). Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters ECOSOC Res.
  20. (1969). Basic Research Methods in Social Sciences: The Art of Empirical Investigation.
  21. (1981). Beyond Crime: Seven Methods of Controlling Troublesome Rascals‟.
  22. (1986). Black Skin white Masks.
  23. (1986). Black Skin, White Masks.
  24. (1966). British Policy in Kenya Colony. London: Frank and Cass.
  25. (1966). British Rule in Kenya 1895-1912: The Establishment of Administration in the East Africa Protectorate.
  26. (2004). By Whom, and by What Processes, is Restorative Justice Defined, and What Bias Might this Introduce?‟
  27. (2008). Catholic Diocese of Machakos (CDM).
  28. (2005). Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice.
  29. (2006). Children Services.
  30. (1997). Community Conferencing and the Fiction of Indigenous Control‟.
  31. (2001). Conferencing in South Africa: Returning to Our Future‟.
  32. (1949). Confidential Correspondence as President of the Court of Appeal for East Africa. Papers in the possession of the Bodleian Library,
  33. (1991). Consent, Coercion and Colonial Control: Policing the Empire,
  34. (2002). Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC).
  35. (2005). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:
  36. (1964). Crime and Punishment in East Africa: The Twilight of Customary Law.
  37. (2000). Criminal Justice Policies in Commonwealth Africa: Trends and Prospects‟.
  38. (2007). Critical Perspectives on Restorative Justice‟.
  39. (2004). Critical Resistance: From Poststructuralism to Post-Critique.
  40. (2000). Custody and Rights of the Children‟.
  41. (2006). Customer Service Charter. Nairobi: Probation Department
  42. (2007). Data obtained from Shimo la Tewa Borstal in
  43. (1986). Decolonizing the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature.
  44. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.
  45. (2006). Diversion Project for Children in Conflict with the Law in Kenya.
  46. (1997). Does Prison Work? London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit.
  47. (2006). Doing Justice: How Informal Justice Systems Can Contribute.
  48. (2005). Doing Qualitative Research.
  49. (2000). Doing Research in Prisons‟.
  50. (1999). Doing Your Own Research: A Guide to First-Time Researchers
  51. (1995). Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. New Jersey:
  52. (2000). Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984.
  53. (1938). Facing Mount Kenya: The Tribal Life of the Gikuyu.
  54. (1982). Field Research: A Sourcebook and Field Manual.
  55. (1997). Foucault Revolutionizes History‟.
  56. (2005). Governing Paradoxes of Restorative
  57. (2006). Governing Young People: Coherence and Contradiction in Contemporary Youth Justice‟.
  58. (1991). Governmentality Rationality: An Introduction‟.
  59. (2006). Guidelines for the Formation and Operation of Areas Advisory Councils.
  60. (2006). Handbook on Child Rights and Child Protection for Police Officers in Kenya.
  61. (1935). Hints for Magistrates.
  62. (2004). How Petty Crooks Rise up the Ranks.
  63. (2004). Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
  64. (2001). Implementing Restorative Justice: What Works?‟
  65. (2003). Inside Kenya‟s Worst Prison. Available from [accessed 5/5/07].
  66. (1982). Interviewing in Field Research‟.
  67. (2001). Introducing Restorative Justice‟.
  68. (1974). Introduction to African Criminology.
  69. (1985). Introduction to African Religion.
  70. (2004). Is it All Right for You to Talk? Restorative Justice and the Social Analysis of Penal Developments‟.
  71. (2005). Judicial Mentality: Mental Disposition or Outlook as a Factor Impeding Recourse to Foreign Law.
  72. (2001). Just Cops Doing „Shameful Business? Police-led Restorative Justice and the Lessons of Research‟.
  73. (1991). Justice for Victims and Offenders: A Restorative Response to Crime. Milton Keynes:
  74. (1997). Juvenile Justice Systems: International Perspectives.
  75. (2007). Juvenile Justice, Criminal Courts and Restorative Justice‟.
  76. (1999). Kenya National Community Service Orders Programme: Practice Guidelines. Nairobi: Probation Department.
  77. (2006). Kenya: How Prisons Spawn Violent Crime‟.
  78. (2008). Kenya: Population. Available from [accessed 20/7/08].
  79. (1956). Kikuyu: Social and Political Institutions. London:
  80. (1970). Law and Development of Nations‟.
  81. (2003). Law and Order Sector Reform Programme (GJLOS).
  82. (1997). Law in Development: On Tapping, Gourding and Serving Palm Wine‟. Case Western Reserve
  83. (2006). Lively Sundowner with Gang of Deadly Carjackers‟. Daily Nation,
  84. (1998). Markets, Democracy and Ethnicity: Toward a New Paradigm for Law and Development‟.
  85. (1982). Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics.
  86. (2003). Mind the Gap: Restorative Justice in Theory and Practice‟.
  87. (2006). Model Children‟s Court for Town‟.
  88. (2005). Modern Equity.
  89. (1977). Mountain Witchcraft: Supernatural Practices and Practitioners among the Meru of Mount Kenya.
  90. (1954). Nandi Customary Law.
  91. (2005). Non-Custodial Sentencing in Kenya: Research Report.
  92. (1967). Not Yet Uhuru.
  93. (2006). Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
  94. (2001). On Restoration and Punishment: Favourable Similarities and Fortunate Differences‟.
  95. (1994). Orientalism and its Problems‟.
  96. (1997). Orientalism Reconsidered‟.
  97. (1978). Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient.
  98. (2008). Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).
  99. (1982). Participant Observation: The Analysis of Qualitative Field Data.
  100. (1982). Participant Observation: The Analysis of Qualitative Field Data‟.
  101. (2007). Past Reflections, Future Insights: Asylum Law and Policy in Historical Perspective.
  102. (1997). Penal Law and Procedure in Kenya: Some Suggestions for Reform‟.
  103. (2006). Petty Offenders to be Freed‟.
  104. (1997). Policing the Risk Society.
  105. (2001). Politics and Post-Colonial Theory: African Inflections.
  106. Politics and the Study of Discourse‟.
  107. (1997). Postcolonial Criticism.
  108. (1998). Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh:
  109. (2002). Power: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984.
  110. (2001). Primary Restorative Justice Practices‟.
  111. (2004). Principles and Concepts of Restorative Justice‟.
  112. (2003). Principles of Restorative Justice‟.
  113. (2001). Prison Conditions in Africa. Johannesburg: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Available from [accessed 10/1/08].
  114. (2003). Probation and After Care Services. Available from [accessed 1/1/08].
  115. Profile: Kenya‟s Secretive Mungiki Sect. Available from [accessed 16/7/07].
  116. (2003). Proposed Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice: Recognizing the Aims and Limits of Restorative Justice‟.
  117. (2006). Psychiatric Power: Lectures at the College de France 1973-1974.
  118. (2001). Punishment and the Changing Face of the Governance‟.
  119. (2003). Punishment to Fit the Crime? Penal Policy and Practice in British Colonial Africa‟.
  120. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: an Expanded Sourcebook.
  121. Questions of Method‟.
  122. (2005). Realizing the Rights and Welfare of the Child: Strategic Plan 2005-2009.
  123. (2007). Regional Views: Africa‟.
  124. (2007). Reoffending and Restorative Justice‟.
  125. (2000). Repentance Rituals and Restorative Justice‟.
  126. (2000). Restaging the Universal: Hegemony and the Limits of Formalism‟. In
  127. (2003). Restoration and Retribution‟.
  128. (2003). Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice: Competing or Reconcilable Paradigms?
  129. (2003). Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice: Just Responses to Crime?‟
  130. (2002). Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation.
  131. (2002). Restorative Justice and the Politics of Decolonization'.
  132. (2003). Restorative Justice for Juveniles: Just a Technique or a Fully Fledged Alternative?‟ In
  133. (2005). Restorative Justice in the Youth Court: A Square Peg in a Round Role? Symposium,
  134. (2000). Restorative Justice Options for Northern Ireland: A Comparative View. Belfast: Stationery Office.
  135. (2004). Restorative Justice- is More Better? The Experience of Police-led Restorative Cautioning Pilots in Northern Ireland‟. The Howard
  136. (2000). Restorative Justice, Indigenous Justice and Human Rights'
  137. (1999). Restorative Justice: An Overview. London: Home Office. Available from [accessed 10/9/06].
  138. (2002). Restorative Justice: Ideas,
  139. (2002). Restorative Justice: Present Prospects and Future Directions‟.
  140. Restorative Justice: The Real Story‟.
  141. (1998). Restorative Justice: Variations on a Theme‟.
  142. (2003). Restorative Punishment and Punitive Restoration‟. In
  143. (2006). Revisiting Liberalism and Post Colonial Theory in the Context of Asylum Applications‟.
  144. (2007). Reviving Restorative Justice Traditions?'
  145. (2008). Rights Commission (KHRC).
  146. (2006). Rights of the Child in Kenya: An Alternative Report to the UN
  147. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity.
  148. (2004). Risk, Uncertainty and Government. London: Glasshouse press.
  149. (2007). Satisfying the Needs and Interests of Stakeholders‟. In
  150. (1974). Scholars in Self-Estrangement: Some Reflections on the Crisis in Law and Development Studies in the United States.
  151. (2008). Seal Loopholes in our Criminal Justice System.
  152. (2007). Security, territory, population: lectures at the College de France,
  153. (2006). Situating Restorative Justice within Criminal Justice‟.
  154. (2004). Situating the Lectures‟.
  155. (1968). Suffering Without Bitterness: The Founding of the Kenya Nation.
  156. (1937). Tangled Justice; Some Reasons for a Change of Policy in Africa.
  157. (1976). Tanzania and Nyerere.
  158. (2004). The „Inside‟ and the „Outside‟: Finding Realities in Interviews‟.
  159. (1998). The „New‟ Law and Development Movement in the Post – Cold War Era: A Vietnam Case Study‟. Law and Society Law Review 32:93.
  160. (2003). The „Rule of Law‟ in Development Assistance: Past, Present and Future‟.
  161. (1997). The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law. Cambridge:
  162. (1967). The Agiryama of Kenya. London: Royal Anthropological Institute.
  163. (2006). The Chomsky-Foucault Debate on Human Nature.
  164. (1976). The Colonial Transformation of Kenya: The Kamba, Kikuyu and Maasai from 1900-1939.
  165. (2000). The Colonialist Heritage. Lecture,
  166. (2001). The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society.
  167. (1959). The Early Days of Policing in Kenya‟. The Kenya Police Review 3:17.
  168. (1905). The East Africa Protectorate.
  169. (1946). The Electors Union of Kenya.
  170. (2002). The Empire Writes Back. 2d ed.
  171. (2006). The Evolution of the Common Law: Legal Development
  172. (1984). The Foucault Reader.
  173. (2006). The Future of Human Rights.
  174. (2007). The Future of Restorative Justice‟.
  175. (2005). The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France 1981-1982.
  176. (1979). The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge. London:
  177. The Idea of Restorative Justice‟.
  178. (1988). The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge. Indiana:
  179. (1962). The Kenya Police:
  180. (1995). The Lessons of Law and Development Studies‟.
  181. (2002). The Little Book of Restorative Justice.
  182. (1994). The Location of Culture.
  183. The Meaning of Restorative Justice‟.
  184. The Mythology of Modern Law.
  185. (1953). The Nandi of Kenya: Tribal Control in a Pastoral Society.
  186. (1994). The National Standards Manual. Nairobi: Probation Department.
  187. (1988). The Nchuri-Ncheke of Meru.
  188. (1996). The New Penology‟. In
  189. (2005). The Place of Rehabilitative Ideology
  190. (2005). The Politics of the Culture of Control: Undoing Genealogy‟,
  191. (1992). The Postmodern Explained to Children.
  192. (1989). The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods.
  193. (2005). The Right Not to Lose Hope: Children in Conflict with the Law - A Policy Analysis and Examples of Good Practice. London: Save the Children UK. Available from [accessed 10/7/05].
  194. (2002). The Shape of Things to Come: A Framework for Thinking About a Restorative Justice System‟.
  195. (1977). The Southern Kikuyu Before 1903: Volume III.
  196. (1985). The Thin Blue Line:
  197. (1991). Thieves, Drunkards and Vagrants: Defining Crime in Colonial Mombasa,
  198. (2003). Thinking Critically about Restorative Justice'.
  199. (2000). Toward a Mid-Range Theory of Restorative Criminal Justice: A Reply to the Maximalist Model‟.
  200. (2002). Toward a New Legal Common Sense. London: Butterworths LexisNexis.
  201. (1972). Toward a Social Theory of Law: An Essay on the Study of Law and Development‟. The Yale Law Journal 82:1.
  202. (2003). Towards Re-Africanizing African Universities: Who Killed Intellectualism in the Post Colonial Era‟. Alternatives:
  203. (2006). Unbowed: One Woman‟s Story.
  204. (2005). Visit to Holy House of the Meru Elders‟. Daily Nation,
  205. (2004). What are the Dangers as well as the Promises of Community Involvement‟.
  206. (2004). What are the Implications of Restorative Justice‟s Use of Indigenous Traditions?‟
  207. (1992). What is a Dispositif?‟
  208. (2005). What is the G8 Summit? G8: Gleneagles. [accessed on 12/9/06].
  209. (2004). What is the Place of Punishment and Imprisonment in Restorative Justice‟?
  210. (2004). What is the Role of Community in Restorative Justice Theory and Practice‟?
  211. (2004). What is the Role of the State in Restorative Justice?‟
  212. (2001). Why Restorative Justice? Repairing the Harm Caused by Crime. London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
  213. (2006). Working in the Midst of Crime,
  214. (1998). Youth Justice: The Statutory Principal Aim of Preventing Offending by Children and Young People. London: Home Office. Available from [accessed on 7/9/06].

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.