A new structure for the Prisons Department has been rolled out which will see officers across the ranks being promoted.
Making the announcement on Friday, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said the expanded structure will ensure officers do not remain in one grade for too long.
He said the changes were in line with recommendations made by the Madoka Commission on prison reforms.
The Vice-President made the remarks when he launched a Legal and Human Rights Unit for prisons at a ceremony at Nairobi West Prison.
He assured staff of moral support and motivation and urged them to uphold high standards of discipline and professionalism.
Mr Musyoka said following the launch of reforms in 2008, a lot of progress had been made in the rehabilitation of inmates, housing, healthcare, transport and general welfare of staff and prisoners.
“Legal and human rights issues have for a long time raised public concern, prompting the need for continuous improvement,” he said.
The Legal and Human Rights Unit will provide legal aid to staff, remand inmates, convicts, offenders on custodial sentences and victims of crime.
Mr Musyoka, in whose docket the Kenya Prisons Service falls, stressed the need for collaboration between the Police, Judiciary and Prisons.
“Joint efforts with stakeholders will greatly contribute towards the dignity and improvement of the basic rights of offenders,” the Vice-President noted.
The Home Affairs Permanent Secretary, Dr Ludeki Chweya, singled out housing as the major challenge facing the prison department. The institution needs 15,000 staff units, he said.
The former chairman of the taskforce on prison reforms, Major (Rtd) Marsden Madoka praised the progress made in the ongoing reforms and appealed for patience by prison staff as massive funding was needed. (VPPS)