PS refuses to launch Prisons study

March 29, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – There was drama during the launch of a report calling for the fast tracking of prison reforms after Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Ludeki Chweya termed it as outdated and refused to launch it as scheduled.

Mr Chweya accused the researchers of doing a shoddy job claiming that most of the reforms recommended by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights report were currently being implemented.

“They did not try to interview me so I was not involved and you see it is a piece of research. You know that when doing research, you want to conduct a survey, interview people concerned, find the information, facts and figures and then analyse them to produce a report,” he pointed out.

“Wouldn’t you seek to interview the PS who is the Accounting Officer, the person in charge of budget? They did not do that and I further didn’t know that the study was being conducted at that time. I only learned of it last week when I was invited to participate in this launch,” he stressed.

The study recommends that sentencing policies should be reviewed with an emphasis on non-custodial sentences and calls for discretion by judicial officers in setting bail terms.

It also outlined the need for all prison officers to be provided with proper clothing and appropriate living quarters and emphasised the urgency for the medical services within the various institutions to be delinked from the Ministry of Health.

A commissioner at the KNCHR Hassan Omar Hassan however said that all stake holders were contacted and that the report dwelt on areas of improvement within the prison system and as such should be taken positively.

“As a human being you are able to discern that you have this view and we also have this view and then chart the way forward. So there is nothing that has been destroyed. Every prison head was here and we are all of the opinion that we all need to exert ourselves in prison reforms,” he said.

Mr Hassan said specific departments should also be set up to pursue prison funding for the expansion of the facilities.

“Despite one year passing since this report was released, the issues addressed are pertinent and should be looked at with urgency. They are still applicable up to this day,” he stressed.

He pointed out that the commission contacted all the stakeholders and took all their views which were incorporated in the report released on Tuesday.

In 2008, the government commissioned a team to investigate the state of the prison institutions in the country and recommended ways of improving their poor status.

The committee that was headed by former Cabinet Minister Marsden Madoka recommended a raft of measures which includes proper housing for warders and improving their salaries.

Most of the measures proposed in the Madoka report are already being implemented by Prisons Commissioner Isaiah Osugo.

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