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Kenya commits to prisons reforms

RUIRU, Kenya, Sept 22 – The government on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to full implementation of the reforms in the Prisons department to ensure it attains international standards.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, in whose docket the prison department falls, said he would “personally” ensure the institutions match the current realities in offender management.

“Already, the government has undertaken numerous measures in line with the recommendations of the Madoka Report on prisons,” he said when he officiated the pass-out parade of 2,034 warders, including some 100 professionals from various disciplines such as nursing, information technology, education and counseling.

The Vice President said a standing Reform Team comprising of heads of departments, as well as representatives of other government agencies and ministries whose functions are related to the correctional services has been formed to spearhead the reform agenda.

“It is something we are committed to do, and it is already underway. There are visible changes today in the prisons department, thanks to the new management here,” he said.

He said that a National Correctional Services Policy to align Community Service Order (CSO), Probation and Aftercare Services was also underway.

“Ultimately the different legislation governing Prisons, Borstals, Probation and CSO will have to be reviewed to bring them in tandem with current realities in offender management”, the VP said, adding that the first Borstal institution for girls will be constructed at Kamae near Kamiti Prisons.

Mr Musyoka said containing and reforming modern day offenders such as pirates, cyber criminals, gang members and international drug traffickers demanded the Prison Service to be versatile in applying modern and dynamic approaches.

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“These demand of you and the entire Kenya Prisons Service to be versatile and apply modern and dynamic ways of containment and rehabilitation”, Mr Musyoka said.

The function was also attended by the Assistant minister for Home Affairs Beatrice Kones, her Housing counterpart Margaret Wanjiru, Molo MP Joseph Kiuna, and the Commissioner of Prisons Isaiah Osugo among others.

Prisons Commissioner Mr Osugo on his part said the prison facilities will remain open to all civil society organizations, particularly those campaigning for human rights to be able to sensitize them on how to handle prisoners.

“Human rights and oversight bodies should feel free in visiting our facilities to continue sensitizing us in this area. Our prison facilities are open to public scrutiny,” he said.

Kenya Prisons has been accused previously of mishandling prisoners without due regard of the international human rights set standards.


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