NAIROBI, July 12 – Warders at Kamiti Maximum Prison on Saturday recovered 350 Mobile phones and over 100 unused sim cards from inmates in a search prompted by information from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) tracing to the penitentiary phone calls and text messages issuing threats to members of the public.,
Officer-In-Charge at the prison, Joseph Mutevesi, said they suspected the gadgets could have been smuggled into the facility by members of the public with whom the inmates interact on a daily basis.
Mutevesi stated:"Much as they are in prison they are still in contact with the cooks who serve them, the medical personnel, some are appearing in courts while others are going to the hospital once in a while."
Police have in the last few months received numerous reports of death threats from the public and investigations have led security officers into various prisons in the country. Some of the criminals have actually managed to extort money from innocent people using the threats.
Reports indicate narcotics, alcohol and other prohibited items find their way into the country’s corrective institutions through the assistance of prison warders. Mutevesi revealed that a prison warder suspected to have been involved in smuggling items into the prison had been arrested earlier in the week. The officer, he said, had since been sacked and was to face charges in court.
The prison chief said that he had put in place stringent security measures to curb smuggling. He introduced a customer care department to brief visitors on what they should and shouldn’t do while at the prison.
"When entering the prison people will be searched and also when leaving. We are also arranging to bring in modern search equipment other than the manual ones to check if anyone is carrying anything unusual," he stated.
Mutevesi urged members of the public to report any threats to security officers.
"If somebody has a report let him come up by formally making a report and we shall give them total support. On our own we can not know who did what, where."
Kenyan prisons continue to suffer bad publicity for illegal practices besides recording high rates of transmission of sexually transmitted and communicable diseases. They have also been criticized for failing to achieve their purpose of rehabilitating the prisoners. It is reported that a good number of those who leave prisons eventually get back to crime.