Newly inaugurated Kabarnet high court judge Edward Muriithi has expressed concerns over the poor state of security at GK Prison Kabarnet saying it lacked capacity to hold capital offenders.
Justice Muriithi said the correctional facility based in Baringo County which is fenced with twigs urgently requires a replacement with a perimeter wall, expansion of prison wards, replacement of wooden ceilings with concrete ones and strong grills for the cells.
He said the expansion and improvement of the infrastructure at the GK Prison Kabarnet will save millions of shillings spent every year to transport local criminals from GK prison in Eldoret which is about 100 kilometers away.
The Kabarnet High Court Judge noted that remandees with pending cases of murder, robbery, rape and defilements will still have to be ferried to remand cells at GK Prison in Eldoret at the expense of tax payers money.
Murithi who spoke to journalists today after touring GK Prison Kabarnet in a company of court users committee led by Principal Magistrate Samson Temu and representatives from GK Prison Eldoret and Eldoret High Court said many cases requiring jurisdiction of High Court will be affected by delays occasioned by the long distances the capital offenders are ferried from.
Justice Muriithi also recommended for improvement of staff living conditions saying it was sorrowful to note that over half of the officers recited in dilapidated mud walled houses while more than 50 others lived in rental houses within Kabarnet town at the expense of their privacy.
The Kabarnet High Court judge is now asking prison authorities to improve the wanting state of security at the GK Prison Kabarnet and asked parliamentarians to allocate funds to facilitate the rehabilitation of the correctional facility adding that most of the newly established High Courts countrywide could be facing similar challenges.
The deputy head of GK Prison Kabarnet Chief Inspector Joseph Kukuyan said they were yet to receive funds for the rehabilitation of staff houses from the prison’s Housing Scheme.
Kabarnet High court was inaugurated three weeks ago by the Chief Justice David Maraga in Judiciary’s quest to reach out to all parts of the country and bring high court services closer to people.
Maraga said before devolution Kenya had only 14 high courts and with the coming of devolution there were only nine counties without the high courts.
Baringo governor Benjamin Cheboi and Kabarnet Ward Representative MCA Johana Chebon welcomed the establishment of high court in the county with the MCA calling for establishment of women cells at GK Prison Kabarnet.
Governor Cheboi said bringing court services closer to people would be a great deterrent to cases of insecurity resulting from cattle rustling experienced in Baringo.
Cheboi also praised the government for the establishment of new high courts saying it will be of great importance especially during this time the country will have many cases resulting from election related disputes.