alexa Former prisons commissioner James Mareka dies in Nairobi - Daily Nation

Former prisons commissioner James Mareka dies in Nairobi

Sunday February 23 2020

Former Commissioner of Prisons James Mareka

An undated picture of former Commissioner of Prisons James Mareka with former assistant Commissioner of Prisons Rahab Thangate. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

More by this Author

Former Prisons Commissioner James Wilson Mareka died Sunday morning at the age of 81 years.

In a phone interview, his daughter Jane Mareka said he died at Coptic Hospital in Nairobi where he was admitted with diabetes complications.

Mareka's family said he will be remembered as a as a hard worker and a staunch Christian, devoted to teachings in the Bible.

He is survived by three children.


Mareka was among the pioneer and long serving commissioners of the Kenya Prisons Service, having served under the Moi regime.


President Daniel arap Moi appointed him commissioner of prisons on November 7, 1988, under the then Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage.

Being this appointment, he was the deputy commissioner of prisons.


Mareka was born to a Christian family at Kauhia in Murang’a County in 1939.

He attended Kangaru High School in Embu, completing his O and A-level studies in 1960 and 1962 respectively.

After school, Mareka worked for British American Tobacco, Kenya for six months.

He joined the prisons service in 1963 as a chief officer grade II.


Mareka worked as an assistant commissioner in the then Western Province in 1979 and was appointed a senior assistant commissioner in July 1984.

While at the prisons department, he underwent training on criminology in Britain and at the Institute of Criminology in Canberra, Australia.

He also did a course in planning services for offenders at the University of Swansea and Wales as well as management courses at the Kenya Institute of Administration.