NAIROBI, September 10 – Newly appointed Prisons Commissioner Isaiah Samuel Osugo officially took over office Wednesday with a pledge to reform the department and the country’s penal institutions into world class facilities.
Osugo, a career police officer who has served in different positions at the Criminal Investigations Department said he was up to the challenge ahead of him.
He said his first priority was to implement the proposed reforms contained in a report by a Task Force that was headed by former Cabinet Minister Marsden Madoka on the state of prisons.
“I promise change. It will be total change and change for the better. I will ensure warders remain happy at their work stations as they look after inmates,” he said.
In his maiden speech at his Magereza House office at the Prison headquarters, Osugo said he was keen to improve the poor living conditions of the warders and give them better pay.
“I want to make our penal institutions a better place not only for the warders but inmates as well. It will be emulated by other countries,” he said.
He spoke when he formally took over from outgoing Commissioner Gilbert Omondi whose term ended last week.
Osugo was appointed alongside George Macgoye who becomes his principal deputy.
Macgoye is a former deputy Administration Police Commandant who was until his appointment an Under Secretary at the ministry of Public Works.
The prisons department hit newspaper headlines three months ago when warders went on strike to protest against poor pay and deplorable working conditions.
Madoka’s team pointed out various challenges facing the department.
Key among them was the lack of proper housing and low pay for the warders who are charged with the responsibility of looking after convicted hardcore criminals and those in remand awaiting trial.
“We will do our best to make the prisons department one of the best institutions in the country. But we need the cooperation of the public in this,” Osugo said.
Omondi on his part said he had done his best while at the helm of the prisons department and pointed out that he did not have any regrets over the manner in which he managed affairs while in charge.
“I did my best and I believe I achieved a lot, I urge Osugo to do even better,” he said.