Abstract: This study sought to examine individual socio-demographic factors contributing to criminal relapse of offenders in Nakuru Main Prison, Kenya. Routine activities theories guided the study. A Cross sectional study was conducted which took a random sample of the target population of recidivist both prisoners and those on trial. Respondents were given questionnaires, interviewed, and engaged to take part in focus group discussions to gather primary data. Secondary data was collected from the prison’s records at the documentation office to understand the number of persons with previous incarceration history. Thematic analysis was used to assess qualitative data while descriptive statistics with the help of SPSS version 27 was used for quantitative analysis. To present the results, tables, graphs, charts, and text were used. The sample size was 106, with 10 prison officers serving as key informants and 96 repeat offenders with prior criminal records. Prison officers were subjected to a stratified random sampling procedure. From the findings, respondents confirmed having committed serious offences during their second arrest. Some of those who had been accused of stealing were arrested of having committed robbery with violence at 28(29.2 %,) stealing at 16(16.7 %,) robbery at 12(12.5 %.). Serious offences like defilements and grievous harm were also committed during their second arrest at 7 (7.3 %.) Preparation to commit a felony, murder charges, obtaining money at 6(6.3%), assault at 5(5.2%) rape at 2(2.1%) and obtaining by false pretenses at 1(1%). The second arrests attracted a more serious offence and in which offender spend much more time in custody as compared to misdemeanors. Concerning the respondents’ background, 41 (41.7%) of the respondents are unemployed, 35 (39.6%) were in an informal means of employment, 15(13.5%) were self-employed, while10 (5.2%) were formally employed. The respondents who were self-employed were engaged in businesses like of boda bodas, hawking, which by nature are not stable livelihoods while the majority are unemployed. The study concluded that, individual background was key in determining their state in relation to violation of the law and recommended a multi-stakeholder approach in revisiting the available programs, seek review to address both restorative and rehabilitative processes.
Key words: Individual Socio-Demographic Factors, Criminal Relapse, Offenders, prison, prisoners