PS urges Judiciary to speed up cases facing remandees to decongest prisons

There are 55,185 prisoners against a capacity of only 27,000 in Kenya's prisons.

Sunday January 24 2016

Inmates at the Eldoret GK Prison listen to

Inmates at the Eldoret GK Prison listen to Correctional Services Principal Secretary Micah Powon on January 22, 2015. Mr Powon urged the Judiciary to speed up cases of remandees in order to decongest prisons in the country. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GERALD BWISA
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The Correctional Services Principal Secretary Micah Powon has called on the Judiciary to speed up cases of inmates in a bid to decongest prisons in the country which have over 28,000 more inmates than their capacity.

Speaking on Friday at the Eldoret GK Prison during his familiarisation tour and inspection of prison departments in Uasin Gishu County, Mr Powon noted that there has been an increase of inmates in the country and that the department can only accommodate 27,000 prisoners.

“However, the number has increased to 55,185 prisoners who are in the facilities.

“Half of them are remandees and half are convicted,” Mr Powon said.

“So I am calling upon the Judiciary to speed up the cases and also look for other alternative forms of correction like community service to decongest the prisons,” he added.

Mr Powon, who was accompanied by Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago, said that his ministry will expand training facilities and add new machines to the prison so that prisoners can engage in productive activities.

“This will be factored in the coming 2016/17 budget. We want to see that the convicts engage in these activities in order to better themselves while in prison,” he said.

He urged the remandees who are willing to participate in these development activities to feel free and join.

He also said that his ministry is in consultations with the immigration department and IEBC departments to provide convicts with identification and voters’ cards so that they are registered and participate in elections.

On his part, Mr Mandago appealed to the national government to address issues facing prisons such as staff housing and congestion.

“We are very concerned as a county and we really want to appeal to your ministry and the Ministry of Housing to consider funding this prison so that we can get good staff housing as well as good facilities for correction,” said Mr Mandago.

He added that his government was ready to collaborate with the prison to ensure that programmes that support the reintegration of convicts into the society.

“For those who have gained skills, we are ready to work with them through the department of Culture and Social Services to see how they can be facilitated to fit back into the society and also continue generating income using the skills that they have acquired,” Mr Mandago said.

He added that his government had set aside funds to build a day-care centre in the prison for convicted mothers.